Reading Rob Sheffield's memoir, Love is a Mix Tape, brings back a lot of memories. Before CDs there were mix tapes, the pre-CD ones recorded from radio when I was in high school. I once made a tape of nothing but Metallica songs, simply titled "Metallica Rules and You Don't." I pressed "record" every time I heard the opening bars of "Enter Sandman," "Last Caress/Green Hell," or "And Justice for All." I think one whole side was "Last Caress" with different DJ intros. The other side featured five minutes of me talking about why Metallica is the best band EVER. Fascinating stuff. I also had a "make out" tape that was (embarrassingly) heavy with Journey and REO Speedwagon. Every time I gave someone a mix tape or CD, it was loaded with meaning. When my best friend in high school moved to Florida, I made him a tape called "I Will Not Carry On." It was very melodramatic and featured two versions (regular & dance) of "Angel of the Morning" by Juice Newton. I think half of the songs were by The Cure.
When I first discovered Napster it was like Mix CD Heaven. I made tons of "theme CDs," like "Saddest Songs in the World Wallow Mix" and "How Punk Rock Saved My Life in 1989." Then iTunes came along and I fell in love all over again with those 99-cent legal downloads.
When you make a mix CD for someone you love, it's usually loaded with meaning. Sometimes it was the only way I could communicate. Looking back on some of the song lists, I wonder if I was channeling spirits or tapping into psychic abilities; they're just so telling. Why didn't I see it before?
This is a list of songs from the last CD I made for him (the last him that I loved) with the not-so-subtle title "Ten Ways I Feel About You":
- "Wish You Were Here," Pink Floyd. Why: We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year...
- "Almost Blue," Elvis Costello. Why: Flirting with this disaster became me...It named me as the fool who only aimed to be...
- "Leather," Tori Amos. Why: Look, I'm standing naked before you; Don't you want more than my sex?
- "I Will Remember You," Sarah McLachlan. Why: I’m so afraid to love you, but more afraid to lose; Clinging to a past that doesn’t let me choose...
- "In Your Eyes," Peter Gabriel. Why: Do I have to explain this one?
- "If You Were the Woman and I Was the Man," Cowboy Junkies. Why: Would I laugh if you came to me with your heart in your hand?
- "Sandwiches," Detroit Grand Pubahs. Why: (it was a joke he would get) You can be the bun and I can be the burger girl...I know you wanna do it and we can make sandwiches.
- "Dancing Barefoot," Patti Smith. Why: Could it be he´s taking over me?
- "Do You Feel Loved," U2. Why: It looks like the sun but feels like the rain.
- "La Vie En Rose," Edith Piaf. Why: Il me dit des mots d'amour, Des mots de tous les jours, Et ca me fait quelque chose. (He tells me words of love, words of everyday, and that made me something.)
See? I think my heart knew he was leaving before he did.