Tuesday, February 19

Love is a Mix Tape

That’s the book I’m reading right now, a book I’m really enjoying so far, even though it’s breaking my heart. It’s Rob Sheffield's outpouring of music and love and loss. And it’s got so many '90s references that I am constantly grinning in recognition and singing along in my head.

I grew up with a soundtrack playing in the background. I had a TV in my room from the time I was about 10 years old (thanks, Mom and Dad!), and I did my homework to MTV, back when they showed videos. On the night of Weezer’s “Buddy Holly” video premiere, I rushed home to watch, and I’ve owned an iPod since the millisecond they were released. In short, I carry a tune in my head, in my pocket, everywhere.

My favorite “friend present” when I was in high school was The Mix Tape. I eventually graduated to mix CDs and then playlists, but I’ll never forget the long hours put into creating the perfect mix tape, with the right amounts of spacing between tracks, the perfect jumble of mellow and upbeat tunes, and choosing songs with lyrics that I thought might speak to the mix recipient.

Yes, I’ve been known to read way into mix tapes that I got from my guy friends (OMG, he put on Chris Isaac’s “Somebody’s Cryin”—he must be secretly pining for me!). Often, I was wrong—turns out boys don’t listen much to lyrics—but I still had fun dreaming.

Music has set the tone for a lot of big moments in my life, which is why I have to have tunes on while I write. The mood of a song can dictate the feeling of a scene, whether or not I mention the music in the text. I have playlists on my iPod for all my characters, and I recently created a virtual mix tape for the Violet books, which includes songs that I listened to while brainstorming, writing, revising, and thinking about who the characters really are.

I haven’t added all the songs I want to yet, and there are still some bugs, but it’s a start, and you can listen to some of Violet’s songs here.

So what songs are on the soundtrack to your life? You can create a virtual mix tape (or ipod or boombox) at myflashfetish.com, but promise to send me a link.


Kelly Parra said...

I've always loved movies, and began collecting soundtracks as a teen. So all my music in head reminds me of good movies growing up!

Jessica Burkhart said...

Yup, I'm with Kelly. I love movie soundtracks! :) Cool link, too, Melissa. I'll check it out.

bevrosenbaum said...

When I Was a Teenage Popsicle came out, I had a soundtrack contest on my myspace blog. I got bazillions of teen readers writing in and suggesting songs--it was great!

Sara Hantz said...

Count me in for loving movie sound tracks. We used the soundtrack from Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence on our wedding video - much to the astonishment of the guy shooting the video who thought we should have something 'more romantic' his words hahahaha.

Amanda Ashby said...

These days I spend more time over at project playlist than I do on myspace because I'm constantly putting more songs on my playlist. Plus, I've got a whole seperate playlist on my mp3 player and more again on my laptop.

I was actually listening to a Bronski Beat song yesterday and in an instant I was suddenly wear horrible striped bike shorts a big belt and dancing my head off at some night club of my youth. I love how that happens (apart from the bike shorts. What was I thinking???)

Gerb said...

Music has always been a constant in my life, too, and it brings back memories like nothing else can... I remember where I was when I first heard a song or cried to a song or when a certain song was playing in the background during some pivotal moment in my life.

I like background music when I'm writing but often have to go with instrumental because I find myself singing along with the lyrics otherwise and don't get anything done!

Melissa Walker said...

I'm so into movie soundtracks too, you guys. I wanted that to be my job for a while--movie soundtrack putter togetherer... how cool would that be? I'm still trying to figure out how to be the person who puts music with TV shows.

Amanda, I have a Bronski Beat ALBUM in my collection!

And I know what you mean about music putting you into a moment... whenever Elvis Costello's "Alison" comes on in a bar jukebox, I look around for my college boyfriend, who always used to play that for me. Sigh.

Entity.Smokes said...

Oh man, Absolutely. I love how music can take you right back to that certain place at that certain moment in your life. Nothing else can give you those feelings back the way music will always be able to.

Em said...

ah, the mix tape. I used to listen to the top 40 countdown and tape the songs that i liked so I could listen to them whenever I wanted the following week. :)

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