Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Perfect Mixed CD

Giving any sort of present is problematic. It suggests we know someone is some way. And not just that we know them, but that we might be able to predict what they would like that they do not currently have. Who hasn't received that cardigan from a well-meaning mother that is a color we would never put near our skin and of a cut that is meant for a woman who is well beyond even her soccer mom years? (Insert clever analogy for male readers).

Some mixed cds are the equivalent of that: compilations of music I would never put near my skin and definitely not cut for me. So when I make them for friends, I try to do the opposite of that. I want to give them something they don't have, but something that will complement who they are and will fit into their cd collection.

What's important as far as I am concerned is not the content. Gone are the days of trying to express my emotions to someone via the mixed tape. I'm a writer and a fairly direct person. If I want to tell someone how I feel, I'll use my own words. What is important is transitions, pacing, arc, and a powerfully snobby aesthetic. Access to a very large collection of music is also helpful.

Here is the double-disc playlist I recently created for a friend who is turning 33 (this very day! Happy birthday, A!), and yes, I did put Dolly Parton between Jay-Z and Roy Orbison. It works better than you might think:

1. Wasted Days and Wasted Nights (Freddy Fender)
2. Dedicated Follower of Fashion (The Kinks)
3. No Matter What (Badfinger)
4. The Passenger (Iggy Pop)
5. Beautiful Girls (Sean Kingston)
6. Lucifer (Jay-Z)
7. Jolene (Dolly Parton)
8. Working for the Man (Roy Orbison)
9. Stand (The Bees)
10. Amsterdam (Guster)
11. Publish My Love (Rogue Wave)
12. That Time (Regina Spektor)
13. I Feel It All (Feist)
14. Girl Least Likely To (Morrissey)
15. Holland, 1945 (Neutral Milk Hotel)
16. Is This Love? (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah)

1. Put a Penny in the Slot (Fionn Regan)
2. Song of Our So-Called Friend (Okkervil River)
3. On a Great Lake (Chris Brokaw)
4. I’m Lonely (and I Love It) (Future Bible Heroes)
5. When Your Mind’s Made Up (Glen Hansard & Markita Irglova)
6. Little Sister (Rufus Wainwright)
7. I Believe in a Thing Called Love (Edson)
8. I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever) (Stevie Wonder)
9. Michigan (Ambulance Ltd)
10. Four Seasons in One Day (Crowded House)
11. Vincent O’Brien (M. Ward)
12. Honey and the Moon (Joseph Arthur)
13. Dry the Rain (The Beta Band)
14. Sugar Free Jazz (Soul Coughing)
15. Days (Elvis Costello)
16. For Today I’m a Boy (Antony & the Johnsons)
17. Mix Tapes/Cell Mates (Rocky Votolato)


tammy said...

U Rock!
Awsome, thanks for thinking about my dad and thinking he is all that in which u have very good taste.

I have several pics with my dad and Orbison when they played together in the early sixtees.

Very cool Katz!

Tammy Huerta Mallini
Coming soon:
Official site:

bethlynn said...

Music is such a wonderful gift. Vicky gave me some music from the Challangers and it is some of the best music I've ever heard. I was glad to be introduced some folks I've not had the opportunity to discover. That is one of the many joys when someone mixes a CD, the chance to "discover" some powerful new influence in one's life.