It happens to me all the time. I'm standing on a dance floor, when some anonymous tune trots into my ears and starts moving me from within. It's exciting, and heartbreaking at the same time, because I know in that moment, chances are I'll never find out what tune it is. Over the course of an hours-long set, (if the DJ is any good), there are tons of tracks that will resonate. I can't Shazam, pester and peek my way into finding out the names of every single one of them. So many great songs are lost over the course of a great night. But sometimes, I get lucky.
A couple of weeks back, my friend and I caught the tag-teaming DJ duos Wolf + Lamb and Soul Clap in Washington, D.C. They played a mix of funky, slow rolling dance music, and I quickly lost my cool when this burner hit the floor.
My hands were tied to that soft clap, my feet dancing around that limber bassline and my mind was spinning with the keyboard. Six minutes of bliss and then on to the next track. I was sure I'd lost the song forever.
But later that week, while stuck inside NPR's offices during a tornado watch, I walked into my colleague Otis Hart's cubicle, drawn by something familiar coming out of his speakers. Suddenly I remembered the way the cushy drum kick held together the syncopated duet of keys and bass, peppered lightly with a purling vocal sample. What was it? "'Good Intentions,' by Session Victim," Otis told me. It's magic, finding something you thought was gone. The more you listen, the more it happens.