I put this on twitter the other day, and to date, I have 4, 785 tweets (holy mother of god. seriously?) and this one statement right here, well, it has gotten more response than anything else I have ever brought to the twitter table. I’m not even kidding. It’s a good thing I had already given birth to all three of my kids before getting on the twitter bandwagon, or the gloves would be coming off right about now.
The response, really, was overwhelming. People got angry, people got defensive, people nodded in agreement, people shouted from the rooftops AMEN, WOMAN!
I guess it was my poor wording choice by saying that mix cds are not meaningful, because, oh my god, they are. They 100% are. I make them all the time. I make them for friends who love them, friends who want them, and friends who I think could use them. But, you guys, making a cd nowadays, when we all have music at our fingertips, when it’s super easy to click a button on itunes and BAM! an album appears on your desktop, when it’s simple to drag and drop music right into aÂ convenientÂ little playlist that cam be burned straight to CD…it’s not the same as it used to be.
Back when you’d have to sit by the radio and WAIT for the song you wanted to come on, when you’d pray that the DJs voice wouldn’t come on over the end of the song, because, really, that’s the last thing you wanted on your mix tape. Back when you had to know the exact running time of each song because you didn’t want to be left with too much dead air at the end of the side, but you also didn’t want the last song to be too long that it’d be cut off. Back when you had to make every single song work and flow properly because unless you were using the fast-forward button (which, I mean, come on, GIANT pain in the ass), there was no skipping ahead. There was SCIENCE involved, people.
I first started making mix tapes back when I first got my first dual-cassetted boom box. It was a golden god, that thing. I spent hours sitting with that thing. I stole my sister’s tapes when she wasn’t looking. I recorded from the radio. I played around with recording my own voice between songs. Making these tapes for me was big business. It took rough drafts and outlines and plans.
There had to be an occasion for the mix…and if there wasn’t something obvious, like Valentine’s Day or a birthday, it became The Second Monday of the Month mix or the Wednesday is Party Day mix.
Or The Noise Day mix, which I still have, because it was the best. I still recognize Naomi’s handwriting. From 1994.
There was the one everyone had…LOVE SONGS.
There was the Mellow and Mellower mix that had mellow songs on one side, and even mellower stuff on the other. There was even a Mellow and Mellower part 2 AND a Mellow and Mellower part 3, because, you know, adolescence was tough man.
There was the Songs to Make Love To side with the Songs to Break Up To on the other side.
There was the Songs No One Should See You Dance To mix, which no one ever saw me dancing to. Rightfully so.
There was the COVERED mix, which, obviously, was full of cover songs.
There was the Q101s mix…an entire mix of the best songs playing on the radio at the time.
There was the Walk of the Mil AKA Roadtrippin’ which was made for the 90 minute drive between school (in Chicago) and home (in Milwaukee. Get it? Walk of the Mil? Milwaukee? Hell’s bells, you all, was I clever in high school)
The thought, of course, is still there now. And the rules are mostly the same. Music someone else gives you is still meaningful, it’s still special, it’s still getting a teeny tiny glimpse into who that person is…but dropping a playlist onto a cd just feels different than sitting for hours in front of an old school boom box.
Now I just have to find a cassette player so I can find out what’s on the Noise Day mix. I am dying to know.
(…as my daughter says, “What’s a cassette?”)
(of course she does…)