My Heart’s a Stereo, It Beats for You so Listen Close

On September 29, 2011, one of my childhood dreams came true. It came 10 years after but it was still such a sweet and unbelievably epic experience. I finally got to watch Westlife live. Westlife has been my all time favorite boy band! I can break into any of their songs in an instant and I can even name all their songs by album and order. What I love most about Westlife aside from the fact that their songs are all so easy to sing (a big deal for a frustrated singer like me) is that all their songs emit a certain memory and emotion from my growing up years. Just like what Nicky, one of the members of Westlife, said in their concert “The 23 year-old receptionist in our hotel told me that she made it through grade school listening to Westlife.”… I feel exactly the same way.

Whenever “When You’re Looking Like That” plays, I get nostalgic about the first time I had eye contact with my crush in Rockwell mall. He was a high school sophomore and I was just in grade 5 but I was instantly smitten by his killer charm. Every time I hear “World of Our Own”, I remember our school fair and the time my crush requested for this song for another girl. I get sentimental whenever I hear “Fool Again” and “If I Let You Go” because it brings me back to the time all 40 of us were belting this song out on our way to Antipolo for a class fieldtrip. I’m pretty sure we gave our teachers and chaperones a migraine from too much Westlife singing. Nostalgia is an affective process that can accompany autobiographical memories. Nostalgic moments can be triggered by anything, be it an old photo, a crumpled note on scratch paper and in this case, music.


front row action during the Westlife concert in Manila

In Barrett et al. (2010)’s study on music evoked nostalgia. They pointed out that the heuristic model for both context-level and person-level contribute to the nostalgic experience. Context-level constructs refer to aspects of relationship between a person and a particular song. This involves as well the attributes of a person’s experience while listening to the specific song. On the other hand, person-level constructs refer to the individual differences between listeners. For example, some people are more prone to experience nostalgia and people react differently with others on a song in relation to their personality traits.

Nicky, one of my favorite members of the Westlife

In the study conducted by Barrett et al. (2010), they looked for the interaction between context-level and person-level constructs. They let 226 students from the University of California, Davis listen to 30 15-second music excerpt. These songs were downloaded from iTunes’ list of top 100 pop, hip-hop and R&B songs during the time the participants were aged 7-19 years old. They were then asked to answer a survey to measure their mood, nostalgia proneness, arousal and familiarity.


No One in Araneta has Swagger Like Westlife

The results of their experiment showed that songs that are more autobiographically salient, familiar and arousing made them feel more nostalgic. The participants also felt more nostalgic when the song emitted positive and negative emotions. Interestingly, the study showed that positive emotions greatly influenced nostalgia more than negative ones. Love, being the most popular nostalgia trigger was followed by sadness.

try putting your itunes on shuffle and see how good it is at figuring out what emotion to emit


Maybe the reason why I love music is not because I am fond of the different beats that excite my eardrums but because songs usually emit memories that are sometimes forgotten. These memories, whether they may be good or bad, have in their own way affected the person that I am today. I guess it’s safe to say that music, in its own twisted way, really does reflect life.

Currently the song that emits the most positive nostalgic moment 


Barrett et al. (2010). Music-evoked Nostalgia: Affect, Memory and Personality. Emotion, 10(3), 390-403.

photos and videos from:

personal collection of Westlife Gravity Tour 2011



~ by myfivesenseworth on October 4, 2011.

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