Monday, January 08, 2007

Mixtape Monday: Bang On!, Side Two

(What is Mixtape Mondays?)

YouSendIt has been resurrected, Lazarus-like, so Mixtape Monday is on! Step back with us now, to the heady days of 2000, when we all had jet-cars and personal robot valets, and the Judges ruled Mega-City One with iron fists of justice...

It’s an interesting exercise, re-compiling these mixes, and seeing where they intersect or don’t with the music I’m listening to now. I said before that mixtapes are like a diary; and while that’s true, it’s less a chronological record than a journal of moods. Mixtapes aren’t just about what’s new, but about what works (although often a disproportionate number of the songs in any mix will be newer songs, simply because they’re the songs that are preoccupying you at the time).

This side has a song in common with last week’s workout mix (The Police’s “When The World Is Running Down, You Make The Best of What’s Still Around”). And obviously, even back in 2000, that song wasn’t new, or even new to me; it was at least 20 years old, and I’d been listening to the Police since the songs were new. So why did it come around again? Partly because, some time in the late 90s, I belatedly acquired the Message In A Box anthology and had a massive resurgence in my Police fixation, lasting several years; and tracks I’d never paid much attention to, like “When The World Is Running Down...”, became favorites. And because there was something in its bare-bones groove that just clicked with Chris Whitley’s “Aerial.” We’re pattern-making creatures, and sometimes, for whatever reason, two songs just seem to belong together.

And why “Subterranean Homesick Blues”? Because I’d just heard Sixteen Horsepower’s magnificent Low Estate for the first time, and was struggling to absorb it—and early electric Dylan seemed to be key in understanding that and putting it in its context.

We’re all neophiles to an extent: there’s an excitement inherent to The New. But our emotional states map onto everything we’ve ever heard, everything we’ve ever experienced. Sometimes we revisit the old because we want to feel again the way we felt once before; that’s nostalgia. And sometimes we go back to the old songs because we recognize the old feelings once again, and we know the music that will help us ride them out. It’s the difference between taking an E and taking an aspirin.

Download Side Two (50 minutes, 46.7 meg file: YouSendIt link good until 15 January), and hear it as I heard it.

[ MP3 expired - so sorry ]

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