I suppose it's nostalgia. Or maybe it's the fact that my son will never possess a mix tape the way technology is changing the way we listen to music – as I type this, I'm currently using my Pandora One account. Whatever the reason, however, there's something that tugs on the heartstrings between the lines of Rob Sheffield's writing.
Much like Sheffield, I spent the better part of my youth making mix tapes. Mix tapes for the girls I had crushes on. Mix tapes for my friends. Mix tapes for people I was getting to know. Mix tapes for my friends' sexual activities. Mix tapes to play while I was writing bad poetry and shitty short stories. Christmas jams 1999. Summer of Love '97. Songs to Kill Yourself To. Songs to be Reborn To. Life's soundtrack on tiny spools of magnetic tape. When CDRs came about, I segued in that direction. The latest shared playlists I made were on Second Life, back when I DJ'ed as Blaspheme Baxton. Nothing, however, can amount to the sweat and blood poured into the mix cassette tape.
And every mix tape tells a story, or part of one. It maps the path of good times and bad ones. It shows us that everything has its time, everything will pass. And isn't that what Sheffield is telling us? Each song brings him closer to his wife, while aiding him through the world without her.
One can only wish to possess Sheffield's musical insights, and his ability to write about experiences so beautifully. If not for responsibilities, I would have allowed the book to suck me in and not resurface until it was finished with me. If you haven't read it, I suggest you put down that current bestseller and pick up a copy of this baby.
Extra thanks to Angela, who loaned it to me. She's lucky that I'm willing to give it back to her.