Cassette From My Ex
the stories and soundtracks of your earliest loves
Why I Like It: It’s emotional, earnest, and touching. I like it because it speaks. It speaks in the same way High Fidelity speaks. In the same was the first mix tape anyone ever made me spoke.
It spoke, I listened, and that was that. Everything changed.
My musical tastes are pretty eclectic. I like almost everything (if we’re talking genre) and a very limited amount of things (if we’re talking songs). I like classical music and serious rap. I like opera, country and punk. I like, I like, I like. That’s me. But the thing I like most is sharing the things I like with other people. And I’m pretty sure that’s because of that very first tape. That very first mix.
I can’t remember if I was already totally enamoured with the first guy who made me a mix tape of if it was the mix tape that tipped the scales. I really can’t. I don’t know where that first tape falls in the chronology. I just know it was important.
So much care used to go into the process. When I look at that first mix, I can see the work he put into it, from the track list, to the pacing, to the deliberate setting of a particular mood. In retrospect, a lot of the music was terrible, but at the time I couldn’t see that. I couldn’t hear it. That small aspect of the bigger thing that was the tape didn’t seem to matter. It was about more than just the music.
I don’t even have a tape deck anymore, and I’ve considered getting rid of the tape (of all the tapes) many times, but the truth is, I don’t think I will. They mean way too much. Nothing, and way too much at the same time. They’re little bits of tangible nostalgia. Little bits of life recorded.
Lately, I’ve been making a lot of mixes. I don’t use tapes anymore (obviously). I tend to burn CDs from MP3s. But I put in the same sort of care I did when I was still making tapes. I make liner notes, covers, little pieces of art. I name the albums. And every time I do it, I take my cue from that first tape. That first tape that was made with so much care, just for me.
The latest mix I made was for my new friend Kathleen. I have a bit of a girl crush on her at the moment, which I guess explains things. I’ve had a lot of crushes lately. There’ve been so many new people in my life this year. As a result, I’ve made a lot of mixes. Here’s a list of last five – all compiled in the last three months:
Yesterday That Wasn’t There
The Arc of a Love Affair (It’s a Concept Album)
On The Other Hand… You Have Different Fingers
Beautiful, Sad and True?
The Cheese Stands Alone!
It’s ridiculous, I know. But people seem to appreciate it nonetheless. And that makes me happy. It doesn’t even bother me that nobody’s made ME a mix in ages. In years. (In fact, in so long, I can’t even remember the last one.) I really don’t mind. (I’m not being sarcastic here, I swear.) It would be nice, sure. I’m sure I’d be charmed. But it’s not about that. What I really care about - what I really love – is making tapes for everyone else. I like watching my new friends put their earphones on. I like watching their features as the music changes. I like hearing what they hear. It makes things new again. It makes things fresh. And I hope (I hope!) it makes them happy.
Because that – making them happy – is what makes me happiest of all.
Thanks for reading the web-series guys. I hope you liked it. It was fun to share some sites with you.
In exactly one hour, it will be my birthday. I feel good right now. Tired, and busy and happy. Happier than I’ve been in ages. I’ll blog again tomorrow.