July 24, 2010

The mix tape

Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a TimeI am about two-thirds of the way through Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time. The book is a memoir about the author's love of music, the courtship and marriage to his wife Renee, and her all-too-sudden death after five years of marriage. He uses these mix tapes created by he and his wife to place himself at certain times in his life. The mix tapes serve as both a launching pad and a soundtrack to the story.

The author's passion for music has reminded me how much it is missing in my life these days. I listen to much less music since I started listening to podcasts. The podcast list keeps growing, and I follow almost 30 on a regular basis, so it leaves little time for music. The soundtrack of driving, exercise, and odd chores is now filled up with talk instead of music. I love listening to podcasts, but I miss the music.

I dragged all my CDs down to San Diego, two large boxes in all. A few people asked "why?" since I only had so much room in the truck, and music is largely digital now. But I have only loaded a portion of my music onto the computer, and my Nano can only hold some fraction of what I own.

CD sales have been dropping for years. Originally it was a illegal downloads that were cutting into sales. The music industry did its best to fight it, with some success. Now of course there are many legal ways to downloads individual songs (iTunes, Amazon, etc.), but by making it so easy to purchase individual songs, few people are buying the whole album these days.

Like others, the iPod has also pushed me towards listening to individual songs, rather than full albums. And I miss this too. When I do chose music these days, I typically listen to a few playlists I have created, or just hit shuffle and see what comes up. But there is a real appeal to listening to an album. Some albums are structured to rise and fall, each song building on the one before. And there are the hidden jewels buried on side B (when there was a side B), songs you never hear on the radio. And if all you do is buy individual songs, you never have a chance to make those discoveries.

So it is time to turn off the podcasts for a while to make time for music in my life. Less talk, more rock. The author had much more indy taste in music than I did, but there are some albums he mentioned that I have still buried in those boxes I dragged down. Time to dig through those boxes and put the CDs back in the car stereo where they belong.

And like the author, I made a ton of mix tapes when I was younger. I still have them in my storage unit in Seattle, and even just looking them over will take me back to when I made them. Now I kind of wish I had them down here with me. Of course I don't know what I would play them on.

No comments: