Ezra Klein and Emily St. John Mandel

 *Honorary Friends of the Phonograph


April 22, 2022 Ezra Klein Interviews Emily St. John Mandel - The New York Times Ezra Klein Show

By Doug Boilesen, 2022


Art as Time Batteries, Recorded Sound and R.E.M.

During a 2022 interview with Emily St. John Mandel, Ezra and Emily each shared how hearing a recorded song can act as a time travel machine.

Capturing ephemeral sound as recorded music introduced the wonder of the phonograph being able to play a song again and again, anytime and anywhere.

The power of recorded music to transport the listener to a previous time and place is another of its wonders and music heard years later which reawakens experiences from the past is the heart of The Our Song Phenomenon.

By sharing their appreciation and understanding of the power of recorded music Ezra Klein and Emily St. John Mandel are added here as Honorary Friends of the Phonograph.


EZRA KLEIN: I love that passage so much, and it always moves me so much. But just on that point of time machines, I read a piece recently about art as time batteries. And this idea, which I think — it really works for me for music — that certain kinds of art hold time in them, and that when you come to them again, you get to spend a little of that battery energy. There’s music I hear that will just — it holds some other experience in it. And every time I play it, I get to have a little bit of the experience again. And I found it to be a really powerful idea.

EMILY ST. JOHN MANDEL: Absolutely. Yeah. There’s this one R.E.M. song that every time I play it, I’m transported back to being 18 years old, walking to the grocery store in winter in this one neighborhood I lived in for a few months in Toronto. And that was the song I would always listen to.





 *Photographs courtesy of The Ezra Klein Show, New York Times and Los Angeles Times book review of Sea of Tranquility, 2002