Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sonic Sunday: Mix Tape Mix

Love Music by cutcopycreate @EtsyAs most of you probably know by now, I'm a huge fan of mix tapes and the lost art of making them. (See Exhibit A.) So, I recently got to thinking that "songs about mix tapes" would be a great theme for a mix tape. And I'm really not sure why it took me so long to think of this.

Let's just pretend that my blog is a dusty old cassette deck and and these fancy schmancy, embedded, digital links are tracks on a plastic Memorex tape.

"Rewind," Better Than Ezra - Cut a tape of my favorite songs/Said what I can't face to face/I hoped that you would share all my thoughts /We are young and unimpressed by all you'd recognize/So play it all over, turn it wide/Now there is nothing but a mix tape left behind/Now it won't rewind

This is one of my favorite songs EVER, so I know I've mentioned it more than once around these parts (including the aforementioned Exhibit A). I just think it very simply but perfectly captures what mix tapes are all about. Also, Better Than Ezra doesn't get nearly as much love as they should. Kevin Griffin's voice is the definition of sincere.

"Mixtape," Jamie Cullum - I'll make you mixtape that's a blueprint of my soul/It may sound grand but babe it's all you need to know/I'll make you a mixtape that will charm you into bed/It details everything that's running 'round my head

I think this song is pretty adorable, because it's a guy being honest about the fact that most guys make mix tapes for girls because they want to sleep with them. Jamie really paints a great visual picture here, describing the almighty mix tape as "a sparkling jewel of manual labour," and points out its extra-special place in our digital age: "This ain't no disc of mp3s/This one's hand-made, fashioned lovingly."

"Mixtape," Tift Merritt - I’m just making you mixtapes with homemade covers/Mazzy Star, Donovan’s Colors/Just an audio love letter painted blue/I spent all day making for you

This could be the female version of Jamie Cullum's song because, while it's definitely got some sexiness going on, Tift is a little more subtle than coming right out and saying, "Here's a tape; let's go to bed." I also dig that she compares herself to a "rare b-side," because I love b-sides, too! (See Exhibits B, C, D and E.)

"Mix Tapes/Cell Mates," Rocky Votolato -
I am a prisoner in the sunlight/You are my cellmate in the darkness/There's a box full of mix tapes with titles you came up with/They can show us where we came from but not how to get back there

Wow, this is really kind of a depressing song. It's mostly about a guy struggling through life, trying to make ends meet and do right by his woman, but the mix tapes play an important role in keeping his relationship together: "Listening to the songs can't heal my broken fingers/It's just weight for the anchor to keep your ship here."

"Song For A Mix Tape," The Ataris - Today I made you a mix tape to say exactly how I feel inside/And make you feel it too/These are the songs that make me smile and cry myself to sleep at night/When I'm lying without you

Here's a little blast of pop to pull you out of the funk the previous song may have caused. No, I'm not a of these guys. Yes, this is yet another band who sounds like Fall Out Boy (who sound like Blink 182, who sound like Green Day.) No, the lyrics to this song aren't particularly remarkable. Yes, I still like it. It doesn't really have to be remarkable to get the point across. It's about making a mix tape, which—if you haven't been paying attention this entire post— is a subject for which I'm a real sucker.

As a little bonus, here is a very cute and appropriate song from Avenue Q. And I think this is probably the first time anyone has used the words "appropriate" and "Avenue Q" in the same sentence.


Kristen said...

GOOD ONE!!! I love that you found so many songs in this subject! PS - I LOVE mixed tapes!!! We should do a mixed tape exchange!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Kudos on the brilliant theme for a mixed tape. Very post post modern.

LiLu said...

"It doesn't really have to be remarkable to get the point across."

So, so true. In fact, if it is that remarkable, it's probably over my head. Keep it simple, y'all.

Heff said...

I never realized making a mix tape was/is considered an "art".

Hell, I always just threw songs on a tape to have sex to.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

A mix tape of songs about mix tapes? I love it! So deep!

Penny said...

Jim just released a song titled Mixed Tape for his new album. It's very intense :)
You should check it out :)

Billy said...

There's also Butch Walker's song "Mix Tape." Off his CD, Letters.

Absolutely awesome collection of songs. The BTE one is definitely my personal favorites as well. "Right there a song became a soundtrack for this space in time."

elaine said...

The topic of mix tapes reminds me of High Fidelity:


Those guys are true aficionados of the fine art.

I remember making one in high school for some college boy that I had a crush on. It had "Pictures of You" by The Cure on it (since that's all I had of him because he lived three hours away). Angsty / pining for love mix tapes were the best.

A few years ago I made a mix cd of songs featuring the cowbell. It was a masterpiece.


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