Mix Messages – Dancing in the Kitchen Mix

floyd 2-2Vengo

“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.

Ana Tijoux, “Somos Sur
Album: Vengo

Stromae, “Ta fete
Album: Racine Carree
It was hard to choose one song. I wanted to suggest at least five, but then it isn’t a “mix” as much as the CD. Give the album a listen!

Strand of Oaks, “Goshen ‘97
Album: Heal

St. Vincent, “Bring me your loves” (not the official video)
Album: St. Vincent

Hassan Hakmoun, “Ohio” (This song wasn’t available on Spotify – subbed with Balili)
Album: Unity

Alvvays “Adult Diversion
Album: Alvvays

Ty Segall, “Who’s producing you?
Album: Manipulator
(not available on Spotify and not the official video)

Black Keys, “Fever
Album: Turn Blue

Xylouris White, “Fandomas
Album: Goats

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?

Happy Shaking!

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 hearmitage@cityofportsmouth.com.

4 thoughts on “Mix Messages – Dancing in the Kitchen Mix

  1. What a clever idea, Heath! Your story was so true! I laughed and nodded at the gutted and discarded bit! I’ll have to check out the songs, as I don’t recognize them, meaning I need to seriously branch out and get me some of that there culture stuff. 🙂

    Thank you!

  2. Thanks, Dave! I’d never heard of many of the CDs until I compiled the Best of 2014 lists. It was really fun to hear the new (to me) music.

  3. I have an iTunes playlist called “Dancing in the Kitchen”, made for my cousin. She and I used to cook dinner together in college, and listen to loud music in our kitchen. Must be a common activity! Thanks for sharing your list; now I’ve found some new music.

    1. Hi Kate, glad you are enjoying the mix. I love that you used to dance in the kitchen with your cousin. There’s something wonderful about getting down while cooking!

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