Saturday, April 12, 2008
Mixtape - Play With My New Toy!
Trusting that the embedding instructions I was given work, you should see a cassette tape above this. Go ahead. Press play and then read below.
A few days ago, a friend of mine introduced me to Mixwit where you can create mixtapes. I hadn't made a mix tape in about 10 years. In fact, I think the last one I made is still in my car. "Driving" - to keep me awake as I'd haul between college and Honey's first job. But I digress. I'm getting hooked on this diversion. So I decided to share one of my mixes with y'all.
Growing up in far southwest Texas, I had few options for music, period. There was only one radio station for about 100 miles (not exaggerating at all) - okay, three: the AM station that played high school sports, big band and CBS News; the FM (owned by the same family) that played popular country music and the FM station of the regional university whose signal was very weak and played mostly country and Tejano. If you wanted anything rock, pop or hip-hop related, you had to visit El Paso or Odessa or you had to watch MTV. My family was broke. We didn't have cable - the only way to get television as far out as we were - so I relied heavily on my best friend, whom I'll call Marie. Her father lived in El Paso and was a musicphile, so she was exposed to more stuff with him than I was in the heart of the desert. Her mom and stepdad had a satellite, so I'd get some MTV fix there. Since I could afford maybe one cassette every few months, she'd copy her CDs for me.
During my junior year, an arcade opened in town. It was really an oasis for me and my friends. This tape includes songs I remember choosing frequently from the jukebox there. Below is a track-by-track summary of why I chose that song. A caveat: I've found that some tracks screw up and don't play (this is streaming media shared by other strangers), so just hum the tune and move on.
1. Nirvana - In Bloom. I liked to play this track for the line, "nature is a whore." I still giggle at that one.
2. Pearl Jam - Alive. I moved to our burg at age 12. I was always a newcomer to this tight-knit town. And having more liberal ideas than most my peers only hurt my "social life." I frequently felt suffocated. I like the refrain, "I'm still alive;" reminded me that I was.
3. Salt n Pepa - Shoop. I think Sara or Marie used to choose this one. It's fun. "I like how you do what you do when you do!"
4. The Doors - Riders on the Storm. Frankly I think we would choose "The End" more often than this, but as I couldn't find a copy that worked and I assume you'd rather not slog through a 12 minute song, I give you this. Plus, storms (severe mofos) are a huge part of life in West Texas - particularly in the Panhandle, where I was born - so it was kind of evocative of that for me. Felt lonely and sad, like this is a modern cowboy ballad or something.
5. Porno for Pyros - Pets. I think it's the boi-yoing of the guitar string at the beginning that had (and still has) me hooked. Or maybe I love the verity in the line that says we're doing ourselves in much faster than the dinosaurs did.
6. Santana - Black Magic Woman. Just something we played this at the arcade a lot. But also my brother's best friend's dad had a band in town and Marie and I would go see them occasionally. They'd cover this a lot. I remember I'd love whirling like a dervish during the interlude.
7. Salt n Pepa - Let's Talk About Sex. Mostly a fun song. But as my high school produced about 2 babies a year (considering there were fewer than 300 students between grades 9-12, it felt like a lot of babies), I really wished more of my peers talked about sex before jumping into it. It frustrated me to see. I simply liked that this song encouraged dialogue. Plus it embarrassed people at the arcade. If you can't join 'em, beat 'em.
8. Annie Lennox - Love Song for a Vampire. I'm a romantic at heart. And I just fucking love this song because it's the kind of desperate poetry that at 16 I so craved to hear from a paramour. I still wouldn't mind hearing it, sometimes. Plus, I'm a sucker for Biblical references and we all know Song of Solomon (or Songs of Songs) is the book of seduction and sex, even if it's only sexy to people from that culture.
9. Divinyls - I Touch Myself. Did I mention that I never quite fit into my small town? Imagine how that affects dating and one's perceived date-ability. Yeah. This was pretty much the only action I was getting then. Most of the boys in school were raging assholes anyway, so it's just as well they took no notice of me. (Totally. Over. You. Fred.)
10. Nirvana - Lithium. Again. We just played alot of Nirvana, there. Probably all of Nevermind and most of In Utero. But then this wouldn't be a mixtape if I just added those albums. I think this track cuts short. Sorry.
There you have it. As the friend who introduced me to Mixwit has an even shorter attention span than me, I'm adding a secret word: succotash. I'll know you read through if you use it in conversation. Sorry for the length.