“Hey, I made you a mix tape.”
When I was a teenager in the eighties, those words meant magic could happen.
Mix-tapes were pocket sized treasures decorated with art, favorite lyrics, or magazine collages (in the eighties we loved ourselves a good magazine collage) and filled with new songs and artists. A mix could be a treasure map, guiding the listener to insights and feelings the mix-maker wanted known through the carefully crafted playlist. How many crushes were revealed by a mix tape? How many broken hearts mended with the help of a mix? Mixes captured moments, made for special occasions: a dance, a birthday, a road trip. Aren’t songs in a way time machines? Zipping us back to our past?
Mixes had a charming vulnerability. Not just from the feelings revealed by the mix, but the tape itself. Occasionally one would hear a clicking sound from the “play/record” buttons pressed too slowly. Mixes could include partial songs, when the mix maker missed the beginning after waiting hours by the radio (while probably crafting a magazine collage). Some tapes had blurry whirring sounds after being eaten and repaired with a pencil. Gutted and discarded cassettes were a silent testament to tapes damaged beyond the fix of a splice or a pencil, or of a relationship damaged beyond the repair of a mix.
Even as cassettes disappeared, I loved a good mix. I gave mix CDs as favors for my 30th Birthday Party, my Wedding, and friends’ baby showers. Mixes friends have made me through the years still get heavy rotation.
Using the Best Albums 2014, I thought it would be fun to make you a mix. From the CDs I listened to, I picked songs that are good for shaking winter out of our bones. Unlike many mixes, I didn’t select songs for the lyrics. Future playlists will have that criteria, but these songs are for getting down.
The playlist is also available on Spotify. The library is not endorsing Spotify, but you can hear the playlist if you use the site. You can join for free. Not all of the songs are available on Spotify. Another reason to swing by the library and check out the CDs.
Album titles link to the CD in the library catalog. The entire albums are worth a listen. Song titles link to the video on YouTube. I link you to the official video when possible.
Here’s my “Dancing in the Kitchen” Mix for you.
First Aid Kit, “My Silver Lining”
Album: Stay Gold
You might be swaying more than dancing to this song. This is one song I selected because of the lyrics. After this long winter, aren’t we all looking for our silver linings?
Mix Messages is written by library assistant Heather Armitage. She enjoys reading fiction and humorous essays, traveling, trying new vegetarian recipes, and dancing in the kitchen. She’s grateful her dog, Floyd, doesn’t judge her moves. If you have suggestions for future Mix Messages, please email her at email@example.com.