in defense of the much maligned mix tape as a gift
I love making our friends mix CDs. An enormous amount of thought goes into each person's mix. Sometimes a theme is evident like a "he said-she said" kinda thing. Sometimes it starts with a kick-ass song combo randomly played on my iPod. And sometimes it's just a vessel through which to share artists who are really rocking my world at the time.
Sharing music is a huge thing with me. It's such a kick to hip a pal or three to the likes of Wheat, Fountains of Wayne, Michael Franti, Cake, Regina Spektor, Sondre Lerche or, of course, Old 97's. I know some people think gifting mix CDs is lame, but to me it's a way to show how much I love them. (insert finger in throat here)
And I really dig receiving mixes. Seriously. I love hearing what other folks are into. There are always at least a half dozen new musical nuggets to be discovered on each disc. I've recently received several compilations from two friends who have completely different tastes. One sent a great collection of oddball covers like Dolly Parton singing Stairway to Heaven, the Gypsy Kings singing Hotel California in Spanish and Tori Amos quietly crooning I Don't Like Mondays. The other sent a truly eclectic mix of soul, blues, old rock, reggae and Rammstein with a little Zappa thrown in for good measure. Being a Pop/Rock gal, who knew I'd actually like The Derek Trucks Band, or Joe Turner, Ted Hawkins or Eva Cassidy?? Not me. That's what makes these gems so cool.
By far the Mix Master of our life has always been our dear friend Beeeeal, or as we like to refer to him...Cap'n Confabulator. Through his tapes (now CDs), he has introduced us to probably half of our record collection. From REM to Rogue Wave; Belly to Beck; The Shins to Snow Patrol; Death Cab For Cutie to the Cult; Oasis to my beloved Old 97's (...I could go on and on), my ears owe him a debt of gratitude.
So to all our friends who care enough to send their very best mixes, I thank you from the bottom of my CD player. Thank you Marco, Billy Hank, Mike, Zach and especially you Cap'n Confab. You have made our world a little brighter and iTunes a whole lot richer.