Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Who doesn't love a mix tape, really?

I finished Love is a Mix Tape today. And it's not just a book about mix tapes. It's about music, mostly, 90's rock. It's a also a memoir about how music brought two people together and how it helped the author through the loss of his wife.

Each chapter starts with a song list for an actual mix tape that the author was given or made. And then the chapter goes on to tell what the significance of the mix tape was in his life.
I think a lot of people relate to how a song defines a time in your life. How you think the song was made just for you because it describes exactly what you're going through and you're convinced that it can't possibly mean as much to someone else, even the person who wrote it, as it does to you.

I know mix tapes are completely out dated. It's been MP3 play list for a while and in between it was mix CDs but it's still the same idea. I remember a few months ago Jenni thought she might be in a mix CD battle with a fellow teacher. And for the wedding I'm in next month, the gift for the guest is a mix CD of all the couples songs that are being played at the wedding.

When I was young I used to make mix tapes by recording songs off the radio because we didn't really have money to buy actual tapes. When I finally got my first job CDs were it and I would make mix tapes from CDs. Tapes for dancing to, driving to, being mad at your parents, liking someone, being dumped. Then my friend and I actually bought a CD burner. Not a computer but a machine that did nothing but burn CDs.

I used to make mix tapes for when I would write. I like to set the mood for what I'm writing by playing music that I think a character would listen to or music that I could see on the soundtrack if the story were a movie or the music that inspired the story. I no longer have a functioning tape recorder so now I just program my CD player. Maybe one day I'll get an MP3 player but after reading that book I really want to go back to making mix tapes.

Music can tell you a lot about a person, including how their feeling. I think a new writing exercise I should do is make a play list for each character to help develop their personality.

I have this poster above my desk with a little kid wondering what Batman dresses up for on Halloween and who's on Batman's pajamas. I wonder what's on Batman's mix tape?

They should make soundtracks for books not just movies. Wouldn't we all like to know what some of our favorite characters are listening to?


D.B. Echo said...

I love the idea of a mix tape to define your characters! Though some characters, I imagine, might listen to songs that you yourself are unfamiliar with.

I used to make mix tapes all the time. The trick was to cue up the end of each song so that it flowed smoothly into the next one. I believe I had one where "Winter" by Vivaldi flowed directly into the alternate version of "Until the End of the World" by U2 (from the soundtrack of the movie of the same name, not from Achtung Baby.) I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about it. (Those were made from CD's onto tapes, because I didn't have a CD player in my car. I still don't, not really - I have a Discman which feeds into the cassette slot through an adapter.)

A few years ago (DAMMIT I MISSED MY FRIEND'S ANNIVERSARY!) I was in charge of mixing the disc that would be played as background music at her wedding reception (Hot In Here by Nelly, Whiskey In A Jar by Metallica, etc.) The wedding became an open-mike band festival, and with all the live music we never needed the CD.

For some reason that bit about Batman makes me wish I had gotten a photo of one kid who came to my house trick-or-treating last Halloween. He was wearing a black Batman outfit, minus the cowl, and carrying a candy bucket shaped like Batman's head. I said he looked like the Headless Batman!

I remember they made mix tapes for the kids in The Blair Witch Project, only some of the songs weren't released until AFTER the events in the film. It would be interesting to hear what Muggle songs might be playing in the Harry Potter books...since the first one was set in 1991, the second in 1992, and so on. (Calculated by the death date of Nearly Headless Nick.) I wonder what music everybody was listening to in 1980, when the whole thing with Voldemort went down?

jenni said...

I'm so sad that my mixed CD throwdown never came to fruition.