Last week, on one of our all-too-common trips to Michigan, I turned on Talk of The Nation and heard this interview with Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth. He just put out a book called Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture. It was an interesting piece, with callers sharing stories of mix tapes that provided the soundtracks for moments and relationships. Now, I didn't hear any particularly ground-breaking ideas expressed, but it did bring back some fond memories.
Then, the next day in the midst of packing, I pulled a box out from the back of a closet - and found a crate full of old tapes from high school! Some of them are purchased tapes - including my copy of Tori Amos Little Earthquakes, Luke's copy of Eric Clapton Timepieces, and the soundtrack to Newsies. That stuff was good, but the real treasures were all the old mix tapes. We found two of the three classic rock mix tapes that Luke made me for my fifteenth birthday. It was long before we were dating, but we hadd known each other long enough that he knew I couldn't really tell the difference between Zeppelin, Hendrix or the Stones - a situation that has been remedied thanks to those tapes. There was another mix tape from my friend Emma, where the titles of all the songs fit into a poem about the history of our friendship. I still have the poem in a drawer at my mom's house, but I thought the tape was long gone.
Listening to these long-lost tapes reminds me how much has changed - and how much really hasn't. Son of A Preacher Man still ends up on half the mixes I make. I haven't listend to Tori in ages - I still know all the words to Silent All These Years, but the angsty sadness of Winter just doesn't resonate any more. And I'm glad for it.