I made yet another mix CD last night. I downloaded a few tunes I wanted and made the CD in less than 30 minutes. The process felt so....cheap.
In the old days, I had to buy entire albums (or on occasion 45's) to get the music I wanted. Or even better, borrow some of my older brothers' albums without asking. I had to buy the cassette tapes which weren't cheap. Today it's access to everything all of the time burnt on a really cheap CD.
I remember, quite fondly, the days when I would spread my few CD's and LP's (yes I'm that old) out on the floor and strategize about order and vibe of the mix tape. Should Prince follow Michael Jackson or vice versa? It depended:
Little Red Corvette before PYT.
Rock With You before Let's Go Crazy.
It was truly about the journey when making a mix tape. I had to listen to each song as I made the tape which helped me with the flow of the tape. The process felt so....artistic.
My mixes typically started out with fun, dancing music and moved into a more mellow vibe. But I still had to think about order. Should James Taylor follow Paul Simon or vice versa? It depended:
You've Got a Friend before Slip Sliding Away.
Still Crazy After All These Years before Carolina on Mind.
As the songs were added to the mix tape the cassette tape seemed to transform into my mind. It came to life because it went from a blank slate to telling a story that I authored. The process felt so....real.
Just as the mix seemed to end with a mellow vibe, I would pick it back up with some rock music to up the pulse for the end. Again, I thought about order. Should Led Zeppelin follow the Doors or vice versa? It depended:
LA Woman before Kashmir (in fact LA Woman before most any song....)
Black Dog before Love Me Two Times
And when the job was finally done, I had the gift of gifts. A tape that I would likely play hundreds of times. I got a surge of joy when people would ask if they could "have a copy" of it (p2p sharing in its infancy). After a while I would put it aside for a new one. Invariably, I would go back to it months later and play it and get a feeling of near nostalgia remembering the day putting it together.
That process and feeling is just lost now and in some ways a part of me went with it.