Love is…a Mix Tape.

October 26, 2010
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It is a lovely, sweet, gut-wrenching story by Rob Sheffield. Go read it.

It is also a truth.

{Disclaimer: I am a goober. Well-known, unfortunately well-documented fact.}

I guess I have always considered the best gifts the thoughtful ones..regardless of cost. So, boy who bought me that Pottery Barn bed that I  swooned over in the catalog, you are on the same level as the boy who learned how to play “Country Roads” on acoustic guitar just because I love it.  Unfair? Maybe…but who said love was fair. To me a mix tape has always been at the tippy top of the thoughtful scale. Maybe it is silly. I would much rather someone take time and share something of themselves, something they think I might like, something that maybe makes them think of me, of us…more than flowers or anything from Tiffanys. I know that seems like a girl impossibility, but it’s true. You have to really feel music for this line of thought to work for you, I am aware.

Let’s not be crazy, I of course, love and appreciate sparkly things. But I can buy my own sparkly things if I wanted to.

From High Fidelity (one of my top 5)

The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don’t wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules. Anyway… I’ve started to make a tape… in my head… for Laura. Full of stuff she likes. Full of stuff that make her happy. For the first time I can sort of see how that is done.

Rob gets it.

The choices and nuances of the “tape” say so very much about the person making it. If done well, it really is an art. The choices are personal, reflective…telling. They speak of what is important to the person making it, what they want to say, what they want you the listener to know. Like a personal secret code that needs to be cracked. Sometimes the only way to say what you feel is with a collection of songs. Sometimes things are just too big, too confusing, too everything that the only way is in a song..a few songs. Sometimes (always?) that stranger of a songwriter can better articulate how you feel than you can.

It isn’t always so serious. This doesn’t have to always be a romantic gesture. I have many beloved mixes from dear friends. They are like little time capsules. One of my favorites was just a friend’s way of saying “thank you” to her friends for helping her through a very difficult time. Another favorite was from a friend (made at my request) of all new music he thought I might enjoy. I hadn’t heard of a single song on that list, but enjoy them all now, if not only because it reminds me of him.

I miss the days of cassettes (or  CDs for that matter), of the physical representation of music. I miss the hand-written track list. Digital just seems less romantic to me. Maybe this is a good compromise?

I will forever make and share music in this way…and savor and save every one i receive …as with age, they are few and far between.