January 26, 2013

Mix Tape to the Universe

  • Wake Up by Arcade Fire
  • Time to Pretend by MGMT
  • This Tornado Loves You by Neko Case
  • True Colors by Cyndi Lauper
  • Journey of the Featherless by Cloud Cult
  • Everlong by Foo Fighters
  • Handle Bars by The Flobots
  • Awake My Soul by Mumford & Sons
  • The Crane Wife 1, 2 & 3 by The Decemberists
  • Life Less Ordinary by Carbon Leaf
  • Mornin’ Dove by Robinella and the CC Stringband
  • Sons & Daughters by The Decemberists
  • No One Said It Would be Easy by Cloud Cult

Go to list on Spotify

The last time I made an actual mix tape was in college. It was for my boyfriend, David, a tall, reserved graphic design student who eventually married me even though I exposed the control top section of my control top pantyhose during a fretfully awkward fall in a parking garage on our second date. (Guess the mix tape did its job!) I don’t remember all the songs. (One was Teardrops by The Proclaimers, which I still adore.) I bet many were songs he already knew–songs we listened to together or even songs by artists he had brought into my life. But I still made the tape because I wanted him to have those songs in that order with a play list hand-scrawled by me. It was a spliced-together offering that shared something about me, or about him and me at that moment, although at the time I was young enough not to grasp how the moment would keep changing.

Anyway, I’ve been pondering how at any given moment or spell of life certain songs and artists just thrum louder to me. They fit. They aren’t (necessarily) all in the same genre or even the same mood. They are simply songs that zap a line to my heart so directly right then that I can’t help but choose them over and again–in my car, as I wash the dishes, whenever I remember how much better music makes a day and then actually turn some on. I’ve come to think of this ever-changing group of “fitting” songs as my mix tape to the universe.

And because I’m a dork, I’ve decided to actually ‘solidify’ my current “tape,” or rather, make a list of what would be on the tape if I still had a way to make one. I made the list thirteen songs long, which is about how long I remember tapes being. (Technically this list has fifteen songs, but I’m cheating and counting three of them together even though they make up two separate tracks on their actual album. I feel better having admitted that.)

It pains me a bit to post this list without notes of explanation. But it’s probably better that way and less tedious for you (if you’ve actually read this far). If you want to know why a certain song is on it, feel free to ask. All I’ll say right now, though, is that I only allowed myself to include two bands/albums more than once–Cloud Cult’s Feel Good Ghosts and The Decemberists’ The Crane Wife, and that’s because I’d be lying if I didn’t. Also, none of the songs are new releases or terribly obscure. (I’ve never been a groundbreaker of musical taste.)

So check it out if you feel like it, and let me know what you’d put on your mix tape to the universe at the moment.

Here’s a link to the playlist on Spotify in case you didn’t notice the one above.*

I’ll mail an actual CD of this current Mix Tape to the Universe to the first thirteen people who request one.** *** It would be fun for me and surprisingly old school at this point, so let me know if you want to play along…

*If you don’t use Spotify or if this link doesn’t work for you (it didn’t work on David’s iPhone, for example), I apologize. Spotify is the easiest way I know to share music, but I don’t know a lot about it yet.
**Do thirteen people even read this blog?
***I’m sorry I can’t make an actual mix tape. I’m not even sure I still have a way to play the ones I received years ago, the ones that must be stashed somewhere in this house, which is sad now that I think about it. Sorry to be such a downer, way down here at the bottom of the post.

And I decided not to even mention how this is my first blog post since October. Oh, wait…


I love mix tapes, and still have most of mine from high school and college. And, Wendy, I still have 4 working cassette players in my house (and one broken one). Yes, I said that out loud. Thank you for sharing yours. I would love a copy. I confess I don’t even know what spotify is.

by Hajnalka Klieman on January 26, 2013 at 2:21 pm. #

I love this post, and thanks for recently friending me over at FB! Music is way important for me, and I always have it playing, regardless of where I am. Love your playlist, too. Great taste! I do have a working, recordable cassette player in a stereo I’ve had since I was 10 years old.

by Carrie San Angelo on January 26, 2013 at 2:42 pm. #

Soooooo Sweet, Love it.

by Leona on January 26, 2013 at 3:02 pm. #

I really enjoyed this post! I would like to propose a mix CD trade – that is I will send you one back if you would be so kind as to allow me to take you up on the offer of a mix CD from you. Mixes are one of my favorite ways to find new music, and I have had a sad lack of that in the past year :) .

by Dorothy May on January 26, 2013 at 3:56 pm. #

Carrie–I remember you mentioning Mumford & Sons at church once and thinking I should get to know you! Also, are you guys still having that science-related discussion group?

Haj–I’m envious. We *might* have a boombox (yes, I called it that) in the basement somewhere and it *might not* be water-damaged. I try not to poke around too much down there. I used to have a tape deck in my car, but we traded up to a hybrid in 2011… And, I’d love to send you a copy of this mix.

Dorothy–I’m on it! Can’t wait to see what’s on your mix.

by wendy on January 26, 2013 at 4:42 pm. #

Lovely post. I keep a mix-tape that a friend made me because I secretly had a terrible crush on him. I haven’t listened to it in years and years, but whenever I hear a song from it, it always makes me stop, catch my breath, and remember. And I think I have two functional boom boxes if you ever want to borrow one.

by stloopey on January 26, 2013 at 5:02 pm. #

Oh, SueAnn, I know that feeling you’re talking about. My first slow dance (with a boy I had a secret crush on–my first real crush) was to Stand By Me at a 50s dance, and I still get pings in my heart when I catch that song out in the world. It’s funny. I could buy the track, but for some reason, I like letting it just come to me randomly.

by wendy on January 27, 2013 at 8:33 pm. #

Wendy, you know I love a good mix tape! I’d love to trade with you like Dorothy suggested. I feel like I’m so out of touch with recent music, too. I haven’t made a mix tape in years, and it would be so fun to flex those muscles again! Yay!

by Erin on January 28, 2013 at 9:35 am. #

Yay, Erin! Now to get busy burning…

by wendy on January 31, 2013 at 7:30 pm. #

I remember making mix tapes for friends and boyfriends back in the 70s. Not only can I still play cassettes, I still have a functional turntable. Hadn’t thought about them in years. Saw this post last week and I’ve been wondering what I’d put on mine currently. Having a chance to actually listen tonight. Never heard of Cloud Cult or Mgmt, but enjoying the mix. Thanks!

by Nancy on January 31, 2013 at 7:44 pm. #