Project Theme Songs

This post originally appeared on July 28, 2010 on

Hi, I am your completely random post for the week.

Two weekends ago, I was introduced to a new musical artist and became immediately enthralled by his work. I was a music major for my first two years in college, so me becoming infatuated with an album or artist isn’t really all that uncommon.

What is interesting about this artist is that the mood of the music did not in any way fit my life at this moment. Usually I find that new music which really resonates in some way draws a connection to the experiences and emotions found in my life at the current time. It wasn’t until an event at my office several days later that I found out why this music would end up being so important to me. In fact, I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to listen to this artist again without thinking of this situation.

This is not the first time for this to happen to me, either. Back in September 2005, I was helping to support a large rollout in Europe. I spent essentially the entire month in France, with the last week of that trip as the only person from the US. By that point, I had spent months of my life shuttling back and forth between the US corporate headquarters and the EMEA headquarters, so while I was very familiar with my location, it ended up being one of the most lonely times of all my nine trips.

At that same time, Green Day’s “Wake me up when September Ends” song from their American Idiot album was extremely popular. Prior to leaving on that trip, a friend had given me a gift of that album. The last week of September 2005 ended up being forever matched with that album. More specifically with a little Irish pub in downtown Orleans, France, where I sat alone at a small corner bar, wondering why I was spending my life on a project that had abandoned me in a foreign country. It was this event which sparked my eventual departure from that project and that company. This song and album are inalterably linked in my mind with loneliness and separation due to a specific project.

A happier event, months before that lonely September 2005 evening, a different song became linked with that same project. It was a much happier time, with the project in an earlier time. Our project manager had declared ‘Funk Fridays’ and would play all types of Funk music in his office on that day of the week. Normally he had headphones on to partake in his funkiness, but one particular Friday he failed to properly plug in his headset and was unaware that the loud music was coming from the laptop speakers and not his headphones. As the Commodores 'Brick House’ blared out of his office door, most of the team gathered to watch as he jumped, jived and whaled from his desk chair. Only after a few minutes of squelched laughter in the hallway did he notice his audience. He was mildly embarrassed over the event, but it became a running gag to find out what he was listening to every Friday.

So what about you? What memories do you have of specific music being tied to specific projects?