Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Favorite Song is Unwritten

"There are all kinds of mix tapes. There is always a reason to make one." 
~Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield

I have this thing that I do when it comes to music. I will spend two or three days obsessing over my iTunes library. I sit around and download, and delete, and arrange, until I have come up with several masterpiece playlists that I listen to for months and months. After I have settled on a mood or a theme, nailed the perfect flow of songs, listened to the end of each song run into the beginning of the next to be sure they are a good fit, and after I have comprised the perfect title for my playlist, one that defines the moment it was created, I get to my favorite part. I pop a CD into my disk drive and listen to it swirl and whirl while my computer works its magic painting stripes of sound on the disk. Then I jump in my car and drive around listening to the most recent soundtrack to my life, driving to absolutely nowhere and everywhere all at the same time. 

Hey Na Na- Katie Herzig
More Than Fine- Switchfoot
Inside These Lines- Trent Dabb

My music binges come at times of intense change or excitement; I get this overwhelming urge to spruce up what I am listening to day in and day out. Suddenly every scratched up CD floating around in my car just won't do the trick. Usually I find comfort in the fact that I can confidently sing out the first line of the next track in the three seconds of silence after the pervious song ends; but then there are times when I crave something new, something unexpected. Sometimes I am up for the challenge and frustrations of not knowing every word in every song. Sometimes I like to think about how someday in the future this new mix will be as comfortable and worn in as all of the others strewn about, but for now it is shiny and new and mysterious. 

Eyes- Rogue Wave
Something Beautiful- Needtobreathe
Together with the Sundown-Stephen Jerzak

If you are a music enthusiast of any sort and you have yet to pick up Love is a Mix Tape, you really should invest. Rob Sheffield tells the story of his life, his love and loss and how music got him through it. It is heart-wrenching, but so incredibly relatable for anyone who knows the feeling of that memory rushing back when a certain song comes through the speakers. Tucked away in the pocket of my Jeep door is a CD that I can't bare to play. It is in it's case with a paper clip taped to the front, the words "Indie Mix" scribbled in a boys handwriting next to it. I was standing in a foot of snow saying goodbye before four long months apart when he handed it to me. It played in my car on repeat until the daffodils sprung up from the earth; I knew every word. Spring gave way to summer and my winter romance didn't quite result in seeing fireworks in each-others eyes on the fourth of July. I know that if I play that CD I will still be able to feel my glove covered hands gripping the steering wheel as I drove home on that snowy night; and so it sits untouched among other mix tape memories in my Jeep. 

You Me and the Mountain- Maps and Atlases
Live Like We're Alive- Nevertheless
A Little Opera Goes a Long Way- Sky Sailing

The CDs piled up next to my emergency brake chronicle my music life from age twelve or thirteen to now. There is Britney Spears sitting next to The Beatles, who canoodle with Spoon and The Shins. There are mix tapes piled up with titles reflecting college memories like "Stuff as much cheese in your pockets as you can and run!" And then there are some with little notes and hearts scribbled on them from flings past and friends. When I drive around, preferable with sunglasses on and roof off, I can literally relive my teen and twentysomething years through my speakers; and when I add a new and exciting mix-tape to the stack, I add yet another chapter to my life. 

They Bring Me to You- Joshua Radin
Slowly- Coconut Records
Pick Me Up- Matt Hires

Today the itch set in and I have been taking  frequent breaks from my day to listen to a song, googling it's lyrics as it plays. I've had a playlist opened up in my iTunes, waiting to be flowed and titled and swirled and whirled around in my disk drive. The songs on the list are crisp and colorful like autumn. They are filled with feelings of flitting love juxtaposed with feelings of independence, just how I feel. The songs go from upbeat and exciting, to a mellow tone, to loud and harsh, back down to smooth and easy to listen to, and finally fun and carefree at the end. The perfect circle of a days or weeks or months emotions. And now all I can think about is driving around listening to this heavenly season of mine play itself out on my jeep stereo. 

thank you Miss B, for the image
"Our lives were just beginning, our favorite moment was right now, 
our favorite songs were unwritten." 
~Love is a Mix Tape

1 comment:

  1. this makes me want to make a playlist right now... i treat them as an art as well. finally perfecting a playlist is one of those "all-is-right-in-the-universe" moments.


Thanks for taking some time to smell the sneezeweed!