Saturday, July 18, 2009

mix tapes & rotary phones

'tis saturday. i'm at work. it's lovely rainy weather and i cannot wait to go home and have a lulu night with a stinky little pup (who will be getting a bath).
i'm feeling a tad nostalgic today. i think it's because i watched a jonny lang video from 1997 on youtube this morning and it has me thinking about the 90's.
it's so odd. i get really nostalgic for the 90's sometimes. something about the matte lipstick and chunky high heels and suddenly i'm singing ani difranco, the pixies*, and natalie merchant songs; and episodes of pete & pete and boston common start running through my has me yearning for the days when i lit my black light candles and ate sugar cookies in bed while i wrote bad poetry.
because my life was simpler, upon reflection it seems the whole of the 90's were simpler. to a degree that is true. it feels like now we have too much information at our fingertips. we are jaded. things are too accessible which, i feel makes truer connections with people and life in general, more challenging.
you can see a revolt in pop culture craving a return to record players, rotary phones, and images of cassettes on everything. i too, miss the days when we didn't everything at our fingertips. when we didn't have cell phones. i like using pay phones! i like the deliberateness of having change in your pocket and saddling up to the phone to call someone. it made communication something you worked for every day. talking to a person meant something. now it feels like we are headless digi voices coming from somewhere out there that we can simply stalk on google world.
i liked playing cassettes. i miss mix tapes. mix cd's are fine, but mix tapes felt more crafted because you know someone sat there waiting for the radio deejay to take the request for that song you didn't have a single for and then hitting record. you learned how to be your own mixmaster editing those damn things; creating and writing the playlist on the label was an artform in and of itself.
these are the things my mind is playing with today. perhaps i will rent empire records tonight and take this nostalgia to the next level...
adieu for now,

* i am well aware the pixies are not solely a 90's band per se but that's when i fell in love with them.


k.lou said...

I miss doing mix tapes. Hell, I miss doing mix cds. I made them as presents, created artwork and collages and wrapped them in newspaper and sent them all over the country. Hell, I even made a few mix tapes that went all the way to Australia.

I miss finding, securing that progression from song to song. We put up 'fanmixes' now, which are just downloaded, and while you can always set things to play on random if it's digital -- doing things this way, and downloading new albums from the 'net, somehow makes it easier.

Like, would Pet Sounds be as awesome if we dl'd it off iTunes and it went instantly into shuffle? Do artists still put work into the progression of tracks knowing that their work will likely be chopped up in the endless shuffle of an iPod?

lulu said...

i think some artists (say, the decemerists and other storytellers) probably do put a lot of effort into the flow of things. i can't say it happens as often as it used to. i believe we had a resurgence of the "single" movement (like the origins of mainstream music publishing circa 1950's-late 60's) as opposed to the "album" movement of the late 60's-mid 90's. now it's three singles per record and the rest is shit.

k.lou said...

some of my "pop" favourites seem to revel in the storytelling/progression aspect, which I find so nice. there's a story through the album, or a way the songs are arranged that build to crescendo, etc. granted, these are also the bands that readily identify their influences as the same stuff we listen to from the 'old days' -- and more than lip service, you can hear it.

but my vote for 'omg, don't listen to on shuffle' is Sloan's Between the Bridges (which I think you'd really like, btw)