Follow TV Tropes


Love Nostalgia Song

Go To

Those days are gone forever, I should just let them go,
But I can see you, your brown skin shining in the sun,
You got the top pulled down and radio on, baby.
I can tell you, my love for you will still be strong
After the boys of summer have gone
Don Henley, "The Boys of Summer"

Once, long ago, Alice shared special moments with someone she loves. She's moved on, but that won't stop her from singing a bittersweet song about her fond memories of that time. Often it takes the form of a ballad recounting specific details e.g. "the sound of the stereo, the dim of the soft lights, the scent of your hair that you twirled in your fingers..."


Being built on bittersweet emotions, a Love Nostalgia Song has a kind of emotional universality: it can be depressing to one listener and happy or hopeful to another. This can help it to resonate with a wide audience.

A Music Trope. Compare Love Will Lead You Back, when the narrator has not moved on and still believes their lover will return.


    open/close all folders 


  • Brad Paisley - "Who Needs Pictures"
  • Deana Carter - "Strawberry Wine". The titular strawberry wine is among the memories she shared with her first lover, a college-aged boy working on the family farm. She even wonders if she's nostalgic for him or just the person she used to be at seventeen.
  • Sarah Buxton — "Innocence"
  • Garth Brooks - "Every Time That It Rains":
    If we ever had a flame now it's over / And only the memory remains / Of a roadside cafe, on a September day / I relive every time that it rains
    • As well as "That Summer", with the twist being that the narrator was a teenager whose first sexual encounter was with an older widow:
    I often think about that summer / The sweat, the moonlight, and the lace / And I have rarely held another / When I haven't seen her face
    • And "The Dance":
    And I, I'm glad I didn't know / The way it all would end, the way it all would go. / Our lives are better left to chance. / I could have missed the pain, but I'd have had to miss the dance.
    • Subverted in "Unanswered Prayers," where the singer runs into his old flame while with his wife. The first two verses are set up just like a Love Nostalgia Song...before the chorus hits and he's thanking God they didn't end up together. The next verse is about how she doesn't live up to his memories and when they talked, they don't have much of a connection.
  • Taylor Swift
  • "All Too Well" occurs years post-breakup, with both parties still trying to reconcile the fallout of the relationship. The central theme of the song is remembering things you'd like to forget... all too well.
  • "Back to December" is about a woman apologizing to someone she had a bad breakup with, because she still looks back on the relationship fondly.
  • Trisha Yearwood - "Georgia Rain", "The Song Remembers When,"
  • Keith Anderson, "Every Time I Hear Your Name" and "I Still Miss You". The latter is basically a more open-ended rewrite of the former that could also just be about a good friend.
  • At the end of "Me and Bobby McGee", popularized by Janis Joplin, it reveals that Bobby is gone and the rest of the song was all memories:
    One day up near Salinas, I let him slip away,
    He's looking for that home and I hope he finds it...
  • Eric Church - "Springsteen"
  • Lady A — "Dancing Away with My Heart"
  • Jake Owen — "Barefoot Blue Jean Night" and "The One That Got Away"
  • Joshua Stevens — "Rock & Roll and Pensacola"
  • Tim McGraw - "Something Like That", "Everywhere," "For A Little While," "Some Things Never Change."
  • Pam Tillis — "Maybe It Was Memphis"
  • Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert — "We Were Us"
    • Another Urban example in "'Til Summer Comes Around"
  • Dan + Shay — "19 You + Me"
  • Kevin Denney - "That's Just Jessie"
  • Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris - "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind"
  • Blackhawk - "Every Once in a While"
  • Brothers Osborne - "21 Summer"
  • Blue County — "Firecrackers and Ferris Wheels"
  • Toby Keith - "We Were in Love"
  • Morgan Wallen - "7 Summers"

  • Dannii Minogue - "You Won't Forget About Me"
  • deadmau5 ft. Kaskade - "I Remember"
  • Donna Summer - "MacArthur Park" (Covered Up from Richard Harris)
  • Everything But The Girl - "Missing"
  • Alexia - "Me and You"
  • Rockell - "When I'm Gone"(leaning toward Love Will Lead You Back)
  • Stevie B - "Spring Love" and "If You Leave Me Now"
  • Bananarama - "Love Don't Live Here"
  • Decoded Feedback's "Another Loss" is somewhere between this and Grief Song.
  • Kristine W. - "One More Try"
  • Jocelyn Enriquez - "Do You Miss Me?"
  • Dead or Alive - "Something In My House"
  • Ayria - "The Box Under My Bed"
  • Armin Van Buuren feat. Justine Suissa - "Burned With Desire"
  • Steps - "One For Sorrow"
  • Information Society - "Think", "Back in the Day"
  • M:G - "What Do You Remember?"
  • Digital Explosion - "Like an Angel"
  • Covenant - "The Beauty and the Grace"
  • Jenny - "Do You Remember Me?"
  • Color Theory - "The Fifth of July", "Glory Days", "Classic"

  • Bob Dylan - "If You See Her, Say Hello" and "Girl From The North Country".

  • Death Cab for Cutie - "We Looked Like Giants"
  • Ingrid Michaelson - "The Hat"
  • Minus The Bear - "Let's Play Guitar In A Five Guitar Band":
    A few summers ago we spent weeks in her room
    Just having sex and listening to jazz
    And that was the life
  • The Shins - "Pink Bullets"
  • Tullycraft - "Our Days In Kansas"
  • Bloc Party - "I Still Remember"
  • Motion City Soundtrack - Fell In Love Without You
  • Ludo - "I'll Never Be Lonely Again"
  • Iron and Wine (with Calexico) - "Sixteen Maybe Less"
    • Also "The Trapeze Swinger"
    • And "Passing Afternoon"
  • Bon Iver employs a lot of word association and stream-of-consciousness in their lyrics, but "Calgary" seems to be this.
    • Much of the album For Emma, Forever Ago toys with this, reflecting on the different aspects of the narrator's relationship with 'Emma' (actually a composite of several of Justin Vernon's previous girlfriends) and eventually concluding that he's better off without her ("Skinny love has no nourishment; it can't grow"). This doesn't stop him for having a drunken breakdown over it in "Re: Stacks."
  • Grouplove - "Schoolboy"
  • The Magnetic Fields - "Suddenly There's A Tidal Wave", "Busby Berkeley Dreams", "I Don't Want To Get Over You"... Stephin Merritt really likes this trope.
  • The Field Mice - "Emma's House" ("Emma's house is empty, so why do I call it Emma's house?")
  • Poets of the Fall's "Skin," deals with a speaker meditating on his grief at a failed relationship he can't get over, in the house he and his beloved once shared.
    This house is full of stories we both told
    These rooms their very stage where they'd unfold
    These walls they whisper secrets and memories thereof
    But this door no longer leads us to that love
  • Sufjan Stevens - "Visions of Gideon":
    I have loved you for the last time / Is it a video, is it a video?
  • Lord Huron's "The Night We Met":
    I had all and then most of you, some and now none of you
    Take me back to the night we met
    I don't know what I'm supposed to do, haunted by the ghost of you
    Oh take me back to the night we met

  • The standard "These Foolish Things" is a canonical example - its writer called it a 'catalogue song'. Sample lyrics:
    The smile of Garbo
    And the scent of roses
    The waiters whistling
    As the last bar closes
    The song that Crosby sings
    These foolish things
    Remind me of you
  • "Always Something There to Remind Me", best known today for the '80s synthpop version by Naked Eyes.
  • Don Henley - "The Boys of Summer" (see page quote)
  • Mariah Carey - "Don't Forget About Us"
  • Barbra Streisand - "The Way We Were"
  • Bruce Hornsby & the Range - "Mandolin Rain"
  • Van Morrison - "Brown Eyed Girl"
  • Elton John - "Mansfield"
  • Adele - "Someone Like You", written because after tearing her ex-boyfriend to pieces (musically) in "Rolling in the Deep", Adele still considered him to be an important figure and broke down when thinking that he might just be happy without her.
  • Katy Perry - "The One That Got Away"
  • Ke$ha - "The Harold Song"
  • Spice Girls - "Viva Forever", a song about Childhood Friend Romance.
  • ABBA - "Our Last Summer"
  • Atomic Kitten - "It's OK" and "Always Be My Baby", both about relationships that ended badly but the singer has now moved on and can still look back on the good memories.
  • One Direction - "Rock Me", which is pretty much this combined with Intercourse with You.
  • Deborah Cox - "House is Not a Home"
  • Jim Croce - "Photographs and Memories"
  • Michael Jackson - The topic of "Remember the Time" is about a person reminiscing about their past love.
    Do you remember
    When we fell in love?
    We were young and innocent then
    Do you remember
    How it all began?
    It just seemed like heaven, so why did it end?
  • Climie Fisher - "Love Changes (Everything)"
  • Exposé - "When I Looked At Him"
  • benny blanco's "Eastside" (a duet with vocals by Khalid and Halsey) has two lovers reflecting on when they were 17 and falling in love and talking about eloping. Unusually for this type of song, they *are* still together, but their lives have gotten more complicated since those carefree days.
  • The Human League - "Don't You Want Me?", "Louise"
  • The Partridge Family - "Summer Days"
  • The Rain Within - "Innocent", "Small Precious Lights", "Violet Glow"
  • Michael Oakley - "Crystal Ships", "Real Life"
  • Álex Ubago - "Viajar contigo"
  • Taxi - "No voy a olvidarte jamás"

  • Bryan Adams - the second verse of "Summer of '69":
    Standin' on your mama's porch,
    You told me that you'd wait forever,
    Oh and when you held my hand,
    I knew that it was now or never,
    Those were the best days of my life.
  • Dashboard Confessional - "Hands Down"
  • Better Than Ezra - "Good" ("Uh-huh, it was good living with you...")
  • Marillion - "Kayleigh"
  • The Kinks - "Days"
  • The Academy Is... - "Everything We Had" ("Take the pain out of love and the love won't exist...")
    • "After the Last Midtown Show"
  • Barenaked Ladies - "In The Car"
  • Green Day - "Whatshername"
  • Bob Seger's "Night Moves" plays with this, in that the narrator explicitly denies that he was in love with the girl, or that she was in love with him ("We weren't searchin' for some pie in the sky summit...We were just young and restless and bored..."), but he has such fond memories of her that it's hard not to wonder.
  • Gin Blossoms' "Hey Jealousy" mixes love nostalgia with self-loathing and a hint of hope of starting something new:
    It might not be that bad / You were the best I ever had / If I hadn't blown the whole thing years ago / I might not be alone
  • Paul Davis - "'65 Love Affair"
  • blink-182's "Feeling This", recalling memories of sex with an ex-lover.
    This place was never the same again / After you came and went
  • Meat Loaf has "What About Love" and "It's All Coming Back to Me Now."
  • Mayday Parade - "Three Cheers for Five Years"
  • All Time Low - "Circles". ("Come back to the place we knew before/retrace our steps to the basement door/I'll ask you if the rain still makes you smile.")
  • Kristine - "(We Used to Listen to the) Radio"
  • Yellowcard - "Ocean Avenue" and "One Year, Six Months"
  • HSAS (Hagar Schon Aaronson Shrieve) - "Missing You"
    We had big plans
    But they kinda fell through
    Now for the rest of my life, babe
    I'll be missing you
    Sometimes I feel so empty
    Like there's a hole inside
    And I can't forget you baby
    God knows I've tried
  • Bruce Hornsby and the Range's "Mandolin Rain" is full of vivid memories of a lover who has long since left him, distinguished by its Southern folk setting:
    The boat's steaming in / I watch the side wheel spin and I / Think about her when I hear that whistle blow
  • Stabbing Westward's "Waking Up Beside You". The speaker had fears that the subject of the song would abandon him someday - which did indeed come to pass - but it didn't stop him from committing to memory the moments he considered special.
    I memorized how warm your body felt
    as you lay half asleep beside me
    And I memorized the way the sunlight
    filled the room and played upon your body

    Soft Rock 
  • Céline Dion:
    • "I Remember L.A.":
      I remember L.A.,
      Seems a lifetime ago,
      We were stars on Sunset Boulevard,
      What a movie we made.
    • "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" straddles the line between this and Love Will Lead You Back
  • "Same Old Lang Syne" by Dan Fogelberg is a variant, in which the narrator describes running into his former girlfriend at the grocery store. They're Amicable Exes, and split a six-pack of beer while reflecting on their past relationship and catching up. Both seem content with where they've ended up in life, but obviously still care for each other.
    The beer was empty and our tongues were tired,
    and running out of things to say.
    She gave a kiss to me as I got out,
    and I watched her drive away.
    Just for a moment I was back at school,
    and felt that old familiar pain.
    And as I turned to make my way back home,
    the snow turned into rain...