A couple of weeks ago, I found something pretty cool: every mix CD I made between the years of 2006 and 2010.
Oh, not the actual CDs – those were never lost, stacked as they are in reverse chronological order on the giant drum that sits in the back left-hand corner of the desk I rarely occupy, despite my best of intentions. And the tracklistings were never lost either, now I come to think of it, since I used to publish them on a monthly basis on this very blog. But the playlists themselves disappeared from my iTunes library in some laptop transition or other, and while the individual songs may appear in shuffle from time to time I never got around to replicating them. And who even owns a CD player these days, in which to slide a mystery disc and delight in the surprise of what comes out?
(Me, as it happens; but it’s on a different floor of the house from the CD drum which I guess is a barrier too many.)
I can’t begin to guess at Me of What Appears to Be September 2010’s motivations for uploading those mix CDs to my Spotify account; Spotify being a service which Me of January 2018 uses something between once a year and to commemorate the deaths of her favourite musicians because Taylor Swift withdrawing her back catalogue pretty much removed any habitual connection to the thing. But her foresight, or whatever it was, granted me an afternoon reliving not only the playlists I had put together for the blog but also the ones I made for friends; colleagues; my last great ex-love. Through them, I rediscovered songs I hadn’t heard in years, and songs I had forgotten worked as well together as they undoubtedly did back in, say, May 2009, when I spent hours re-playing those fades to make sure everything fit together perfectly.
Putting together the perfect mix takes time, and patience, and playing the same song 14 times with 14 different follow-ups until you land on one that actually works, as I was reminded this week as I pulled together my as-is-traditional year-in-music compilation (seriously, disc two, I am SO glad to be done with you). It’s why the monthly ones stopped in mid-2015, with nothing but a few DJ sets and setlists from my favourite gigs to break up each annual musical full-stop. Hell, my laptop doesn’t even have a built-in CD player anymore… and yet, I persist, a little later every year, in a ritual I doubt means as much to anybody else as it does to me.
Same time next year?
(The title, incidentally, is taken from a Jason Isbell song that did not end up on the mix. There were two of his lyrics that summed up my year, you see, and this seemed like a good compromise.)
TRACKLIST! Vol. 1: Craig Finn, “Rescue Blues”; 2. Cayetana, “Bus Ticket”; 3. Ted Leo: “Anthems of None”; 4. Ryan Adams, “Outbound Train”; 5. Girlpool, “It Gets More Blue”; 6. Phoebe Bridgers, “Motion Sickness”; 7. Leif Vollebekk, “All Night Sedans”; 8. Benchmarks, “Paper Napkins”; 9. Skating Polly (ft. Louise Post and Nina Gordon): “Louder in Outer Space”; 10. Jessica Lea Mayfield, “Sorry is Gone”; 11. The Smith Street Band: “25”; 12. Partner, “Play The Field”; 13. Marnie: “G.I.R.L.S.”; 14. State Broadcasters, “Crap Village”; 15. Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit: “Something to Love” [82MB, zipped mp3s]
Vol. 2: 1. CLOSENESS: “More Romantic”; 2. Waxahatchee: “No Question”; 3. Dear Reader: “Tie Me to the Ground”; 4. fuvk: “echo”; 5. Hiss Golden Messenger: “Jenny of the Roses”; 6. CHUMP: “At Least We Got a Song Out Of It”; 7. EMA: “33 Nihilistic and Female”; 8. Rainer Maria: “Lower Worlds”; 9. Sheer Mag: “Expect the Bayonet”; 10. The Menzingers, “Bad Catholics”; 11. Breakfast Muff, “Duvet”; 12. BOAT SHOW: “Cis White Boy”; 13. Babaganouj: “Hoping That It’s You”; 14. Siobhan Wilson, “Make You Mine”; 15. Sarah Jickling and her Good Bad Luck: “Anything That You Want” [86MB, zipped mp3s]
Vol. 3: 1. Allison Crutchfield: “Charlie”; 2. The Blow: “Think About Me”; 3. Soccer Mommy: “Benadryl Dreams”; 4. Lomelda: “From Here”; 5. Big Thief: “Shark Smile”; 6. The National: “I’ll Still Destroy You”; 7. Sad13: “It’s Too Late” (Carole King); 8. the Mountain Goats: “California Jam”; 9. Hurray for the Riff Raff: “Life to Save”; 10. Diet Cig: “Link in Bio”; 11. The Regrettes: “Hot”; 12. Ratboys: “GM”; 13. Lauren Hoffman & the Secret Storm: “I Just Broke Up With a Guy Who Kinda Looks Like You”; 14. Ben Marwood: “Baby You’re a Mess”; 15. Darth Nater: “The Western Lowland Gorilla Song” [90MB, zipped mp3s]