all about mix tapes

I’m back to driving a car. An old car. From 1999. Which means I have two music options: the radio or CDs. I’m way past the CDs phase in my life. I’ve moved on even past my iPod to Spotify, so it’s a bit of an adjustment, especially because all of the CDs I have are from the me a decade ago, not from the present-me. And boy, did me-a-decade-ago have a weird taste in music.

About the mix tapes I have in my car? One word: wow.

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The thing I lack is consistency and theme and anything that goes along with it. No, really. All my CDs are labeled by number and rarely is there a track listing. Every once in a while I wrote all the tracks right on the CD label but not always. What they’ve become is a surprise to listen to. With my 2001 mix tapes, I never know what I’m going to get. One of the CDs goes from rap to country to Abbott & Costello’s “Who’s on First?” sketch, to Bill Cosby, to oldies. I kid you not. Another is all over the map, including Christmas songs. At least a few of them try to have a theme. Like my 90s music CD or the one of all “whacky songs” (I haven’t dared listen to that one yet) or the homemade Disney compilation. Or the one that has Great Big Sea’s “Kiss My Irish Ass” on the same disc as “Awesome God.” No, really.

Though my favorite of all the CDs I discovered is the one without any fancy labeling. It just says: Best Mix Ever!

Which, I assure you, it is not. Frankly, I’m not sure how I ever thought it was.

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In fact, if I’ve learned one thing about playlists over the years it’s that I am not good at making them. I have one “themed” playlist on hand right now that I really think is a great cultivation of music. It centered around one of my written characters and fits him pretty damn well. Other playlists I’ve made on Spotify are recycled from about a half decade ago, and have titles such as “I’ve Got a Crush on You” and “Cheatin’ Songs.” Then I have a good old year of list called “1984 – the Year of my Birth.” Those are all well and good. But they’re stangant and I’ve been listening to them for years.

I need new playlists in my life, and I know I’m not any good, really, at creating them. That’s why Spotify is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Recently, I discovered the Genres and Moods section. It’s a treasure trove of playlists for every mood and occasion, my goodness, I feel like I’m drowning in the playlist possibilities. At least this way, someone else put it together for me, and if I don’t like or know a song, it’s only a matter of hitting the next button and being done with it. Besides, sometimes there are songs out there that I wouldn’t think about in a million years. Like on the Spotify “S’MORES” playlist: The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun” which is, really, just the perfect campfire song ever.

I think it’s time to break out the blank CDs and give myself some new driving music.

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