reelin’ to the radio…

Life lives in a mix tape. I finally brought my two-gallon Rubbermaid tub o’ mix tape goodness to my apartment from its previous dormant state at my mother’s house. I’m listening to an old radio mix with Casey Kasem as the main narrator. Every Sunday I waited to hear the good stuff on the epic countdown. This was the year of U2’s “Staring at the Sun” the Verve Pipe’s “Freshmen” and Sublime’s “Santeria.” Shamefully, there is some, um, Hanson on there. But I willfully admit this because after reading Rob Sheffield’s Love is a Mix Tape I discovered I was not the only one who owns this radio dub on cassette.
Whether or not these selections are still catalogued as “good” in our mind’s library they undoubtedly take us back. For me, this particular cassette spans three different radio stations and two different states. Virginia, and one summer visit to PA when I was in high school. I thought Pennsylvania must be awesome because this radio station (the old 97 ROCKS) was tops in my mind. This was the summer I fell in love with Billy Corgan’s successful cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.”
Some may argue that cassettes are obsolete. I personally love records, tapes, CDs…nothing will take the place of album art. While I find the iPod convenient, it will never trump the 1985 black Sony cassette Walkman. One tape reel holds an entire era of my adolescence. Go dig a memory out of your closet. Just press play.

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squeezing souls into midi files

You know it’s happened to you.  You’re paying no intentional attention to your playlist–be it iPod, cassette deck, compact disc, vinyl stack up but all of a sudden every so-called random song is speaking to you.  Riddle me this:

Pandora listens (or, nothing is coincidental)

Soundtrack tonight (pandora’s U2 station-given2fly1981):

All Because of You U2

King of Pain The Police

Shiver Coldplay

If I Ever Lose My Faith in You Sting

Iris (live) Goo Goo Dolls

Pride U2

God Put a Smile on Your Face Coldplay

Message in a Bottle (Live) The Police

Zephyr Red Hot Chili Peppers

Electrical Storm U2

Black Pearl Jam

Don’t Panic Coldplay

Name (live) Goo Goo Dolls

Soul to Squeeze Red Hot Chili Peppers

Pictures of You The Cure

Don’t Look Back in Anger Oasis

Learn to Fly Foo Fighters

All right, so the geniuses at pandora.com have figured out that I like the strained nuances in Bono’s voice (C’mon people, he chose the pseudonmyn “Bono Vox” which means “good voice.”  Guts with gravity, but I have to hand it Mr. Paul Hewson.  Maybe it’s that year I spend on my undergraduate thesis defending their music and how it is changing the world by bringing awareness to social causes around the world.  But with bright and inspiring guitar riffs and pleading, powerful lyrics it’s no doubt I’d hear other rock gods I’ve worshipped since girlhood. The acrobatic bass lines from Flea. Beautifully heart-wrench utterances of Eddie Vedder (also a name variation). The quiet introspection of Coldplay before they trickled into the hot mainstream…

Some days these musicians come together in my head and the music makes a striking parallel that reverberates into the soundtrack that sits on my shoulder like a best friend’s hand.  That’s what music did, today.