I have been “eavesdropping” in on a conversation on twitter regarding mix tapes, Dan Slee has done a wonderful job of summing up the “history” of mix tapes so I don’t have to but I love the whole idea of them being the original Social Media – THE way to share in the 90’s and it got me thinking about some of the tapes I received as teen as Dan puts it:
They could be a love letter, a sign of friendship or the grandstanding of musical knowledge.
…and I couldn’t have put it better myself.
When I was in senior school I used to swap mix tapes with my friend Jess. We were, in our opinion, the optimum of cool and shared a mutual love of all the artists and bands the supposed “in crowd” hated, Nirvana, Hole, PJ Harvey, Chilli Peppers, to name a few and with our mix tapes playing through the earphones of our walkman we looked down upon the lesser beings with our musical snobbery. It cemented our friendship and I went on to purchase some of my favourite albums on the back of tracks Jess included on those now long lost c90’s.
Yet the most impressive mix tape I have ever received wasn’t a tape at all, it was a CD and while I’m sure it started out as a “grandstanding of musical knowledge” it turned into the greatest love letter I have ever received….
“In Steph’s Honour” given to me by James in December 2005 – 4 months before we became us. He told me then it was an “education” as we liked some of the same music, but he has since admitted that he was trying to impress me a little and I have to admit it did!!
Disk 1 – The Rock Show
- One Armed Scissor (At The Drive-In)
- A Box Full Of Sharp Objects (The Used)
- Vessel & Vine (The Lucky Nine)
- 57 (Biffy Clyro)
- If You Don’t, Don’t (Jimmy Eat World)
- The Sign (Foo Fighters)
- The Graduate (Third Eye Blind)
- Corduroy (Pearl Jam)
- Sad and Lonely (Secret Machines)
- Stockholm Syndrome (Muse)
- My Tortured Soul (Probot)
- Superunknown (Soundgarden)
- Inspire (Cave In)
- (I Am) What I Am Not (Idlewild)
- I’m Not Okay (My Chemical Romance)
- Beating Heart Baby (Head Automatica)
Disk 2 – Late Night Ditties
- Wishlist (Pearl Jam)
- I Never Came (QOTSA)
- Blue and Yellow (The Used)
- Switching Off (Elbow)
- Between The Bars (Elliot Smith)
- Pink Bullets (The Shins)
- Walking On A Wire (The Get Up Kids)
- The Light And The Sound (Rocky Votolato)
- Scary Mary ( Biffy Clyro)
- And Then You Kissed Me (The Cardigans)
- Drop (Clarkesville)
- Amie (Damien Rice)
- Those Crimson Tears (Ed Harcourt)
- El Capitain (acoustic) (Idlewild)
- The Sun (Joseph Arthur)
- Title and Registration (Death Cab For Cutie)
- My Sundown (Jimmy Eat World)
Four years and a bit years on I still haven’t made this track listing a playlist on iTunes or on Spotify because nothing compares to the feeling of finding this CD off the shelf , remebering just how much effort went into it and putting it into the player and dancing around my living room. It is such shame that with digital music this is a dying art, and while Philip John is correct when he wrote that “Spotify needs to get social” I doubt a shared play-list on Spotify or a recommendation on Mflow would have the same feel good impact as picking up something tangible and knowing that someone made it just for you!