July 29, 2008 at 8:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

I’ve been thinking a lot about mix tapes* lately.

Partly because Bea blogged about it recently.

Partly because I now drive J’s old beater truck, since Baby O and I don’t commute 35 minutes each way every day, which has nothing but a tape deck. I mean, it has a radio, too. But I mean, really. Who actually listens to the radio these days**?

So. Mix tapes.

A couple of days ago, as Baby O and I were driving home from my friend J’s house, I listened to a mix tape my friend K made for me our freshman year of college, almost 15 years ago. And it’s funny – listening to it brought me right back to that summer between freshman and sophomore year of college, right after my cousin died. I remember how I couldn’t listen to “Tears in Heaven” because that’s what they played at Amy’s funeral.

It’s amazing how music does that, isn’t it? Takes us right back to a certain place in time?

It got me thinking about how I can define periods of my life by a certain artist. High school was Depeche Mode, The Cure, and later on Pink Floyd (the early stuff, of course. Dark Side of the Moon was entirely too mainstream for me).

College was Indigo Girls, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, and then, my main squeeze. David Wilcox.

When I broke off my five year relationship and engagement with my ex, it was Sting, Macy Gray, David Grey, Fisher… and then a bunch of club/techno mixes. Because, well. I was clubbing a lot.

My relationship with J can be defined by Pete Yorn, Pearl Jam, and again, David Wilcox.

Infertility? Sarah McLaughlan. Rent. Wicked. At about the 2 year of TTC mark, I had to put my David Wilcox away because he was too optimistic and hopeful for me. In fact, I delved back into my old Cure and Depeche Mode CDs to relive my old teenage angst.

But then IVF #3 worked. And around the same time, my friend J gave me a bunch of Guster CDs.

And to this day, I will forever more associate Baby O with Guster. Feeling him groove inside me when we listened to “Satellite.” Singing “Barrel of a Gun” at the top of my lungs to get him to stop crying (not that it worked, mind you). And I cannot listen to “Come Downstairs and Say Hello” without crying.

Music is such an integral part of my life; I have a mix tape (a soundtrack if you will) for every period of my life. Right now, it’s Guster. Tomorrow – who knows?

And it makes me wonder: what’s your soundtrack?

I’d love to hear about it.


*As Bea explained, tapes were these rectangular cassettes which, in those days, were ubiquitous. And frankly, J is NOT an early adopter of technology – apparently his first CD player he bought when he was just out of college. To put it into perspective, I bought my first CD player with Christmas money from my grandparents junior year of high school, I think? At any rate, it took J a long time to get a cell phone and an IPod. In fact, if it weren’t for me, I believe he’d still be working out using his cassette player walkman.

**Any radio which is not XM or Sirius – the one on the regular FM or AM channels.



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  1. First of all, I think I’m even further behind in technology than J. I don’t have an iPod, I don’t have satellite radio (I still listen to AM/FM), and my home computer is almost 7 years old!

    Ahhh…life’s music though. I’m with you in that a song can take me right back to where I originally heard and enjoyed it. Except I never know when/where that time period is until I hear the song(s).

  2. So true. We recently traded in my husband’s old car, which only had a tape deck. Shortly after we gave it to the dealer I realized we’d forgotten to take the tape out of the tape deck (it was Tracy Chapman’s self-titled album). I feel like I lost all the elementary-school memories that went with that tape! If I download it from iTunes, it won’t be the same. 😦

    And I’m with you, Amy – no satellite radio, 6-year-old computer. I do have an iPod, though.

  3. I have very specific songs that take me to specific places. Katherine will always be the Hairspray soundtrack because I started listening to it around the time I started to feel her moving. We jam out in the car to it as often as possible.

  4. I’m an NPR junkie – on the regular FM station. In fact, driving across country, I usually just chase the NPR stations down.

    Mix tapes always remind me of the mid to late 80s. My brother loved to make sappy and sad love song mix tapes, so that’s what I always think about.

  5. Great post – I create soundtracks for my life too. Infertilty for me is Audioslave, the Killers (All These Things that I Have Done – sob!), REM, My Chemical Romance, etc.

    Audrey is Spoon, Yael Naïm and Frank Sinatra for some bizarre reason.

  6. Your ‘infertility music’ is the exact same as mine. Sarah M. is all I listen to these days, followed by Rent and Wicked. That’s no lie.

  7. Very interesting post, and one that made me stop and think. I hadn’t really realized to what extent my life had its soundtrack. During college, it was Led Zepplin, Queen, ELO, The Cure and (weirdly) Guns and Roses (I worked in the university cafeteria my freshman year, and we would play Guns & Roses and Bon Jovi all the time).

    Life out here in Boston with my husband started out with Tori Amos and Tracey Chapman.

    Then life with Michael—Dan Zanes; lots of Beatles (my husband would sing “Blackbird” to him at night).

    During infertility — Avenue Q; Spamalot; more Cure; Bruce Springsteen; NPR — I would argue that many NPR programs got me through the tough days.

    And now–not sure what my soundtrack will be, but I am looking forward to it.

  8. I got my first CD player in 1990, at age 13, so I mostly skipped over cassettes, but I do have a box of mix tapes in the basement, with some fairly sh*tty early 90s pop.

    I work from home, so I don’t have much radio time; I flip stations and TV channels as promiscuously as any stereotypical American male.

    My IF music, as evidenced by the top Play Counts on my “Mellow” (read: sad sack) iTunes playlist: lots and lots of late Beatles; also Jeff Buckley “Hallelujah,” Abba “Chiquitia” (totally works for IF), and Franz Ferdinand “Eleanor Put Your Boots On.”

    Re: the Beatles, I could not stand “Ob La Di” (easy fertility! bah!) but now it makes me ridiculously happy.

  9. Missy Higgins’ Nightminds will always hold a special place in my heart, as will Tori Amos’ Playboy Mommy. I kind of wish both didn’t. On the other hand, Clare Bowditch’s This Side is my victory ballad. When PB is having a bad day, I can play it and remember how glad I am to hear him cry inconsolably. See, that kind of contradicts the doubts I’ve expressed in response to your latest post, because without infertility, would that song make me smile on those days? Who can say.


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