I used to be the king of mix tapes, whether for myself or girlfriends, and Napster has brought back old memories as I've been digging through my CD collection to create playlists of music I haven't listened to in ages.
Way back in the day - when vinyl still ruled and CD players were only for the rich - I mastered the pause/play, pause/stop, pause/rec on our cassette recorder, turning out inspired, seamless mixes designed to accentuate certain moods, from slow jams to party mixes. I used to buy 12" like I was a real DJ and one of my all-time favorite concoctions was a 13-minute remix of Force MD's Tender Love - THE love song of 1985/86 - which bookended the regular version with large splices of the extended instrumental. Aw yeeeeeah! ;-)
Mix tapes were often my version of love letters - I was always a much better editor than writer - and, most importantly, they were easier to deny re: intent if they didn't work out. In the 5th grade, I was traumatized by Zoe, a girl I had a massive crush on who publicly ridiculed a "Romeo and Juliet" love letter I gave her (actually, a plaigiarized (and sanitized) version of Queen's Save Me. Go ahead and read it; I'll wait... Yeah.) So, after that little episode, mix tapes were the move.
I haven't made one in ages so Napster's been dredging up the memories like crazy. I've created playlists of Elton John, Jodeci, Celia Cruz and mixes like Dirty Pop (62 of my favorite "pop" songs that lasted almost the entire drive to Virginia!), Afro-Cuban Social Club (Buena Vista Social Club & Afro-Cuban All-Stars) and my old school favorite, Sure Touch, a 23-song mix of Al B. Sure! and Entouch. Does anybody even remember Entouch? II Hype? Whatchagonnado? Crazay 4/U? Gotta love the spelling! And whatever happened to Al? I know he continued on behind the scenes for awhile as a producer but is he still in the business?
The downside of all this is that it's cutting into my reading time on the subway. Whatever will I do once I've completed my 90's hip-hop extravaganza featuring Public Enemy, Arrested Development, 3rd Bass, Prince Markie Dee, Das Efx and PM Dawn? With special appearances by Me Phi Me and Paperboy?