Thursday, July 09, 2009


I wonder how many mixtapes there are around the world that are buried in boxes, titled "Various."

I am at my parents' house at the moment. My family has done so much moving around over the years, that most of my stuff is in boxes, with a lot of things getting thrown out over time. As a result, I have very few remaining possessions from high school and beyond. Somehow, I didn't throw out my small cassette collection. I rediscovered them yesterday in my cupboard when I was trying to make my room look as clean and tidy as it was before this visit. My sister-in-law once said something like "Hena whenever you come home it looks like your room just throws up stuff."

Anyway, here's such a mixtape from my early high school days, I think from the year 2000. That means that this tape is almost a decade old! I played it today in the car. Let's just say the audio quality wasn't that amazing - but it was great to hear these songs again.

Here's the complete playlist, with the correct spellings and titles. Its a bit obvious that I was going through a bit of a funk and disco phase, with some soul thrown in. As you can tell I had discovered the oldies station. There's also some classic house.

Side A:

BeeGees - Staying Alive
The Spinners - Its A Shame
KC & the Sunshine Band - That's the Way I Like It
Archie Bell and the Drells - Tighten Up
PM Dawn - Set Adrift on Memory Bliss
U2 - Beautiful Day
Michael Jackson - Rock With You
Grace - Not Over Yet
Livin' Joy - Dreamer

Side B:

Jennifer Paige - Crush
Michael Jackson - Billie Jean
Michael Jackson - Beat It
Soul Decision - Faded
Cheryl Lynn - Got To Be Real
The Friends of Distinction - Grazing in the Grass
Labelle - Lady Marmalade
Average White Band - Pick Up the Pieces

Its kind of fun to rediscover my old tapes. I never had that many as I transitioned to starting a CD collection pretty quickly. But its kind of nice to have to press forward, and rewind, to hear certain songs - there's no ultimate instant gratification, that you get with CDs, mp3s, and now Youtube. I haven't heard many of these songs in years, and now I can find them right away online, which is kind of cool but I feel like something is taken away with that instant gratification.

I didn't know who half of these songs were by or had totally forgotten, until I typed up this playlist just now. Another discovery.

I now remember making these tapes and listening to the radio, waiting for the right song to come on so that I could record it. I must have gotten pretty good at this, because this tape sounds almost seamless - I must have got skilled at pressing record and pause at the right time. I had such useful skills.

And, I don't think of myself as a nostalgic person. This mixtape however is a bit of a window into a past version of me - I can hear what I was listening to at that time, at what was influencing me. Can mixtapes be a sort of personal historical documents, like journals? I've never read one page from my old journals, but I'm listening to my old mixtapes.