The Magic of the Mixtape

Should I bolt every time I get that feeling in my gut when I meet someone new? Well, I’ve been listening to my gut since I was 14 years old, and frankly speaking, I’ve come to the conclusion that my guts have shit for brains.

I’ve never read Nick Hornby’s book. I should, I know — seeing the movie (no matter how great it is, with John Cusack and all) isn’t the same.

But a lot of people in my circle of friends get it.  Maybe we couldn’t have written the book, but we’ve made our fair share of mix tapes – or CDs, or playlists, or 8tracks. We get older, the technology gets newer, and the story stays the same.

I’ve made hundreds of mixes in my time, to be played in certain seasons, to remind me of certain seasons. For movies that have been scripted, for movies that haven’t even been plotted yet, for those times when I want to make up my own movies on the fly.  To absent friends, to present friends, and even to enemies.

I’ve heard more and more artists complaining about the iPod, and the fact that you can set your album or artist or entire collection to shuffle, and you don’t get the beauty of listening to an album, straight through, as the artist intended.  If that’s the case, why not release your music as 70 minute song cycles, with no track break?  But even if you do — we’ll still figure out a way to break out the five minute chunk that we want, because it would bridge Pink Floyd’s “Breathe” and “Lady Helen” by Devin Townsend perfectly.

These songs, these lyrics — for many of us, there is a soundtrack to life.  It’s nice to be able to preserve that, when we choose, or to craft an alternate to inspire or escape.

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