Monday, January 19, 2015

Ethno-historico-music...: Mixes from Girlfriends: Jess's A Very Random Medley and Hannah's One Side of the Story*

I feel no compunction about naming my high school friends who gave me mixes, largely because our tastes did then coincide (and possibly do now?). Sure, some of this stuff might be embarrassing, but it's like old high school photo embarrassment: deep down, under the embarrassment, you know it's all in good fun. Or you could just be a narcissist like me and revel in the attention, whether good or bad.

But I don't feel so cavalier about mixes from girlfriends. Let's be clear: there's some good music here, which is why I kept them in my car. But there's also a lot of feeling here, which is perhaps best captured by the footnote appended to the title of Hannah's mix, which is all about how there's no meaning here and any attempt to find meaning will be punished with laughter. Which is to say, these mixes drip with feeling.

Which seems like a good time to talk about how I asked Jess out, which was (oh god) in a mix tape, where I recorded myself asking her out. Mind, this asking out took place after weeks if not months of holding hands at drama club. (The unofficial motto of our drama club oughta been "Drama club: where kids go to touch other kids.") So no matter how much feeling there is in these mixes, know that my mixes to them were probably even more sentimental.

How cute is that moment where Jess (high school girlfriend) started to write some songs and then remembered that I already have them. (Thanks, Reservoir Dogs soundtrack. Probably I put those songs on some mix I gave her.) And the apology about putting the Eagles: "You may hate Eagles--and everything else!--sorry!"

And the note (blurry here) attached to "All Out of Love" -- "is this on other tape?" Which raises the question: where is my other mix tape?

Can you believe, this was probably the first time I heard John Lennon's "Imagine"? Though Harry Chapin I heard a lot, since he was one of my parents' favorites. It's a pretty different mix from what I got from my high school friends.

And on its own side of the spectrum--so, not really a spectrum, then--is college girlfriend Hannah's mix, which is its own thing. (I can also say, Hannah was the first person in real life who I heard say "shits and giggles," which never made sense to me as a phrase.)

So there's a lot here that's only in my library because of this mix, like Korn and Smashing Pumpkins, neither of which I usually listen to. And then there are the other songs that are only in my library because of this mix, but which I would listen to all day if I could, like Eartha Kitt singing "C'est si bon."

Also, I think this copy of No Doubt's "Ex-Girlfriend" was coped from the radio, so it's intro and outro are covered up by some DJ, which is maybe not the way Gwen Stefani wanted the song to be heard, but is an interesting historical document. Can you copy things from the radio to mix CD these days? If not, kids, you're missing a great resource for weirdness.

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