My friend Jessica used to make the most badass mix tapes. She’d dig up music that none of us had ever heard before and proudly present it on homemade mix tapes with completely nonsensical names like “I Wish You Weren’t A Liar” and “$0.02” and “Małe Kartofle” (pronounced “maow-eh kar-toff-lay”, Polish for “small potatoes”). I kept all of them and still listen to them when I need to be reminded of good friends and better times.
I miss mix tapes. I mean, sure, you can burn a CD these days but all the effort put into it seems diminished somehow. You download a song off iTunes — one that’s already been rated and reviewed for you by other users — and toss it into a folder and let the burner rip. There’s something missing. Something about digging and pawing through stacks of random LPs and tapes and CDs at the record store, looking for something that strikes you. Buying the entire thing and taking it home and digesting it as a whole. Slowly picking out your favorite songs and tracks. And then finally sitting down and beginning the laborious process of transferring one song at a time — from twelve or fifteen or thirty different albums — onto one little tape.
And it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of 90s music. Grunge, post-grunge, punk rock, alternative rock (before disgusting posers like Nickelback and 3 Doors Down ruined that genre…): all good, all golden. These were my high school days and college days and halcyon days of cheap concerts and late nights and a complete lack of real world worries or responsibilities. It makes sense that I’d love the soundtrack to times like those.
With that in mind, my little barn swallows, I’ve made a 90s mix tape for you all. It’s not the good, old-fashioned kind of mix tape; I had to resort to technology. But I hope you enjoy it, as my Valentine to all of you faithful readers out there.
What’s that? There’s no Soundgarden on there? That’s because I hate them. Don’t question the mix tape!