...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

'when all words fail, she speaks. her mix tape's a masterpiece'

In an effort to be more financially savvy and less soccer mommy, I've been driving our car on my short commute to and from work for the past couple weeks. The car is straight up bare bones and no thrills. That means my drive-time concerts have been staged with my backup band, Factory Installed Radio.

"I got a little feedback in my right ear. Can we fix that? No? OK. So about that hollow sound...Nothing? OK again..."

When FIR pitches a bitchfest at me and puts outrageous demands in their concert rider, I hit the road with my other band, Tape Deck Fantastic! (that's not me inserting an exclamation point at the end of the sentence. That thing is there because the band wants you to say it with enthusiasm!)(That exclamation point I just used there at the end of the other parenthetical sentence? It was put there because I had to put it there to drive home the point.).

Cruising the highways in the Hyundai, minus the lifestyle to which I've grown accustomed to in the mini with its CD player that allows me to pump up the jams from my iPod, means I've had to find old school ways to entertain myself, and nothing makes the kids today ask "What in the hell are those and what in the hell do you do with them?" like pulling out all my old cassette tapes!

(That's right. I just used the words "pump up the jams." Why, back in my day, we pumped up the jams while walking 20 miles to school in the driving snow. Uphill. Both ways...)

In particular, I've enjoyed reliving my amazing youth by blowing the dust off my collection of mix tapes. I have tons of these, thanks to the world that was unleashed upon me as a teenager when I'd finally made enough working part time at Target to buy a stereo with dual cassette decks. One of my favorite mixes is titled "Songs From 45s I Shoplifted From Musicland." Among the selections carefully blended on either side of the 90 minute cassette are Don Felder's Heavy Metal (Takin' A Ride), Chilliwack's My Girl, and The Tubes' She's A Beauty. This stuff holds up on a tinny sounding car radio now, my friends.

I used to spend a lot of time mastering the perfect mix tape. My ability to ensure you couldn't hear the pause button being hit between songs and tips on how to choose songs wisely so as not to run out of tape before tune at the end of a cassette earned me an A+ when I was assigned a "how to" paper during my freshman year in college. I probably should have just posted that paper here. It would have been shorter and more bearable for you who've come this far in this post. I once knew how to be brief in my writing. You have to be when creating a mix tape, because you only have so much room to cram the title and artist of each track onto the tiny cardboard insert that comes with each cassette. When I was satisfied with my productions, I'd then decorate them with various drawings or slashes of bright color spilled from the markers stored in my desk.

My collection of tapes represent a lot of hours of my life, and some of my favorites never stuck around long, for I gave them to friends, who'd often exchange one of their creation with me. One such gift I uncovered this week was produced by a college friend before he left to spend two years in Hungary as a Peace Corp. volunteer. Between each song you hear him fuddling with a mic to explain why he chose them and how they relate to our friendship. The tape concludes with his karaoke performance of Elton John's Daniel, performed at his goodbye party and made more passionate thanks to the many beers he'd consumed prior to taking the stage.

The mix tape that's been getting the most play this week must have been my attempt in 1990 to claim the title WORLD'S BIGGEST KLF FAN!!! What time is love? I don't know, but get hype to the rhythm. Every damn KLF song I own is represented on that tape. Alas, it's not one of my better mixes. We're getting funky fresh with Prince's My Name Is Prince, then bringing it down with some mellow kd lang and her Constant Craving, then whoops! Get your asses back up! KLF are all bound for mu mu land and want to take you with them.

They're taking me along for the time being anyway. I've mixed up my driving, so I have to mix up my soundtrack. Plus, score! I've rediscovered songs I'd completely forgotten about, like this one from World Party:

My days, my drives, and my music are as diverse as a good mix tape. I think I just may tour exclusively with Tape Deck Fantastic!

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Blogger Backpacking Dad said...

I will neither confirm nor deny that I've been to the Pirates' Bay and from thence torrented collection of songs dated between 1990-1995, AKA, my high school years.

I can neither confirm nor deny that they make up my current iPod playlists.

I can confirm that Everything I do, I do it for you. And that indeed, Nothing compares 2 U.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 11:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

god, i love a good mix tape, Diff Gal!

I remember when i was in middle school i used to tape songs off the radio like a total dork!! i'd have my Forever Your Girl by Paula Abdul on there and then some disc jocky interrupting at the end of the song! drove me crazy!

You have a great day!

Thursday, May 29, 2008 6:30:00 AM  
Blogger Cocotte said...

Back in the day, when Cleveland really was the R&R Capitol of the World, M105 used to play entire albums on Sunday nights, to the delight of many cheap junior high kids like me who'd tape the albums.

And yeah, World Party rocks!

Thursday, May 29, 2008 6:49:00 AM  
Anonymous TwoBusy said...

The creation of a truly well-strategized, recorded, line-noted and designed mix tape is one of this world's great lost arts.

Thursday, May 29, 2008 8:11:00 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Mix tapes for the win! Great post. No wait, that deserves an exclamation point... great post! While I know longer make mix tapes (I'm not even sure I have anything that will PLAY a cassette) I have become a master of the the theme-based playlist in iTunes.

Thursday, May 29, 2008 8:24:00 AM  
Blogger Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Miexed tapes? What the heck are those? Is that like an 8-track?

Hallie :)

Btw, sorry I ruined LEVON for you!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008 8:52:00 AM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

Back in the 80s, I invested many hours duping my old vinyl albums onto casettes, when it became apparent that my turntable was preparing to depart this life. So today, I have a minor collection of mix tapes, complete with the old vinyl hissing/popping sounds.

But I've got music that never made its way onto CDs. . .

Thursday, May 29, 2008 9:16:00 AM  
Blogger Phyllis RenĂ©e said...

Ok, I do know what a mixed tape is. But I have to confess the only song I recognize (without looking it up) is Daniel. So I do feel old.

The dorkiest thing my brother's and I used to do was act out the songs as they played. Like a music video. Except that was before they had music videos. Heck, they didn't even have videos!!

I'm a dinosaur!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Bee said...

You have just made me way nostalgic my friend! I will be putting the 3 step ladder in my closet so that I may reach my tapes.
I kept them in a nice cool,cedar lined closet. To preserve them you know. :o)

Thursday, May 29, 2008 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Melody said...

Ahh, the mix tape. I remember making many of those. Still have a few somewhere. Maybe I should drag those out. My stereo was stolen a couple of years ago and we had to put the factory stereo back in the car (I always wondered why Budman made me hang onto that stupid thing...) No CDs for me, just radio (or tapes)

Oh and I HATE HATE HATE my Hyundai (It's so not cool!! I need a cool car!), but at 30+ mpg, we're considering getting another one when this one finally dies a slow (hopefully painful) death.

Thursday, May 29, 2008 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger Bunny said...

Pump up the jams made me think of Pump Up the Volume, which led to fantasizing about Christian Slater . . .

um, sorry, what were we talking about?

Thursday, May 29, 2008 1:47:00 PM  
Blogger kimmyk said...

OMG. I must be like REALLY (and I say that with a 12 year old whiny girl sort of whine) old because like, I don't know any of those bands except the tubes.


Tapes rule. I wish I had my cassette tapes I had mixed. I remember recording songs off the radio in the closet away from the world that I knew.

Good times.

Thursday, May 29, 2008 5:19:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

BP Dad - Oh, your secret is so safe with me it's like the reality of your actions don't even exist. Being that I hope to find salvation even though I was like a drug mule on "shopping" trips to the mall means you get a completely free pass in my book.

Plus, everything you do SHOULD be done for me. Thanks for getting that song stuck in my head the rest of this week.

Oh, I'm at Sex And The City tonight! Woo hoo!

Katie - A huge chunk of my early mix tapes suffer from the DJ banter. Not to mention the truly heinous ones recorded while I held the tape recorder up to the television.

Don't tell anyone, but the entire Forever Your Girl cd is on my iPod. Hey baby! You got to remember, forever and ever...

Cocotte - I forgot about radio stations doing that, which is odd since I often stayed up nights and listened to the rock station when they would. Good, good times! World Party does rock. So does the cheesy video!

Twobusy - Amen! I miss them more than I miss actual handwritten letters!

Michael - Thank you! Exclamation point! If I was still in the business of making mix tapes, many of the songs I've discovered while visiting you would be on there. Seriously. Flobots? Can't stop!!

WWW - Hey now! I only ever had one 8 track, and it was REO Speedwagon's Hi Infidelity. Sweet, sweet sounds on the hifi!

Des - About a month before I left for college, I spent the bulk of the remaining summer dubbing all my albums to cassette so I could endure the drive to and from school, and what I feared would be a cultural wasteland minus my cassettes. I well know the perfect popping and hissing. Still own all my vinyl, but lack a way to ever play them again, and that makes me kind of sad.

Phyllis - If you're a dinosaur, and I'm not saying you are, then I am definitely a dinosaur with you! My acting out songs was mostly contained to the performance video mode.

Bee - I bet you have the coolest mix tapes ever! Give me a playlist!

Melody - I'm not a fan of our Hyunday, either. I feel like I have to fold myself in threes just to get into it. Tool Man held onto the old factory install radio for the mini for the longest time, until I snuck out and tossed it. That is probably putting too much faith on the CD player!

Bunny - Oh, I spent many Friday nights in my best friend's basement watching that movie. She also worked at a video store, so I'd be there to hang out every afternoon (when I wasn't out shoplifting I guess), and we'd watch it!

kimmy - Bah, you're barely any older than me! I think I may have whined when I just typed that! Radio dubbed mix tapes rock. So do you! Love ya!

Friday, May 30, 2008 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger Bogart in P Towne said...

I remember tapes and how sad i was when I threw them out...I had over 500 CD's and had not listened to a tape in years...but it still pained me to throw them out. Excuse me while I go dab my eyes.

Friday, May 30, 2008 1:39:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Bogart - When I "acquired" some of my previously tape only songs and put them onto CDs, I did toss out some of my older mix tapes. I actually sat on my living room floor and had the angel and the devil on either shoulder, trying to make the decision to do it or not. It was hard. I cried, too. It's ok. You'll be ok.

Friday, May 30, 2008 2:35:00 PM  
Blogger That girl from Shallotte said...

Back in my club days, I'd shout out, when "What Time Is Love," came on, "LAF is gonna rock you."

Since I can't ask you to send me a mix tape, do, please send me a track list so I can make it for myself.

I HEART your blog. You and I would totally have been best friends in high school. Unless, of course, you claimed to be a bigger Duran Duran fan. Then I would have talked about you behind your back. :)

Your pal-
Leigh Ann

Saturday, May 31, 2008 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Leigh Ann - OMG, I would have totally wanted to hang out with you in high school, but I'd have been really shy and envious, knowing you got to actually go see Duran Duran on a school night, and my parents had denied me. That practically trumps the fact that Nick's first wife came from my hometown!

(I'll pull something together, track-wise, for you!)

Sunday, June 01, 2008 11:55:00 PM  

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