I’ve really been enjoying my Christmas gifts this year. No, I didn’t get a single record. Instead, I received a ton of books. My current obsession is Love is a Mixtape by Rob Sheffield, an absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking telling of a love story through mixtapes and music magazines.
I only came in on the very tail end of the mixtape era and I did my fair share of sitting in front of my radio, fingers ready to press “Record” when the song I wanted came on. By that time, ClearChannel had already taken hold of my market, so none of my tapes included anything more offbeat than mainstream alternative music. I must’ve recorded the Goo Goo Dolls fifty times.
We moved into the age of iTunes playlists and Pandora and cds but something about making someone a mix has stayed a small part of the music loving culture. I guess what prompted this post was that someone sent me a zip file mixtape last week, specially made just for me. He even loaded some original artwork, made on MSPaint.
It makes me think about all my playlists on WUOG. Occasionally, I’d draw up these lists with a single person in mind. Didn’t matter if they were actually listening or not. The idea that somewhere out there, someone might still be sitting next to the radio, tuned to my show, waiting for some great gem of a song… Playlists just feel better if they’re addressed to someone. Sure, many nights I just threw on whatever I could grab my hands on. Everyone does it sometimes.
But I guess I’ll be paying a lot more attention to the lists this season. I’ll have to leave WUOG soon and fade into the black like all the djs before. Well, some made names for themselves, like K.O. and Danger Mouse. I dunno what the future holds but I want to go out with some style you know?
Hopefully, that last show will be the best. And since they can’t actually fire me, I could play whatever I wanted. And there lies the problem. How do you fit your story in Athens music into an hour and a half. Each song chock loaded with meaning? Or just go with what makes you happy? Life should be like a great mixtape: a bit bitter, a bit sweet, ultimately memorable and enjoyable.
I’ve got a friend already in mind for Tuesday’s show. The playlist is coming together nicely. It’s late as I type this and all I can think is “I hope you hear this.” I have no idea where you are, but this one is for you.