Saturday, January 12, 2008

Music Mix Mania!

Post #11
The age of the i-Pod & other portable digital music players is upon us & in full swing. With the ability to carry hundreds (or even thousands!) of songs in a tiny device you can slip into your pocket, its easier than ever to quickly give a listen to a great song of you choice at a moments notice. One sad fact of this high-tech convenience is that the art of recording a music mix onto a tape or CD has nearly become a lost art already! Okay, cassette tapes have been ancient for years already, but I'm still jazzed that I can make music mixes on a computer with a CD burner! Is there anyone out there who agrees with me? Isn't there still a great feeling to assemble 60-80 minutes of great music in the perfect sequence and making a permanent recording of it? If you agree, then this post is dedicated to you. This post will be a look at one random mix tape form my personal archives-a blast from the past so to say.

Here I go, pull out the old cassette travel-case I once kept in my car during my college days, blow the dust off, crack it open and... BAM! Instant nostalgia! A whole dozen mix tapes to choose from. For me, this is like opening a time capsule. I was never one to make a mix of the same 18 songs you would hear any given day on the rock radio station, either. So these tapes are chocked full of some obscure gems out of left field.

My choice of mixes to cover today: “You Name It!” The following mix tape is probably one of the most eclectic mixes I’ve ever assembled. Thrash, Alternative, Classic Rock, Acid-Rock, Grunge, Prog-Rock, Dance, 80’s Pop-Rock, Reggae, Latin Blues, and even (don’t shoot me, I’ll explain myself) Country: this mix pretty much has it all. A couple underlying themes to this mix; 1-there are a lot of KISS songs, but they’re mostly covers from various KISS-tribute CDs. The lone KISS song, “Then She Kissed Me”, is actually a cover itself. 2-Many of the songs are a-typical versions; either live, unplugged, or a remix. This tape is kicked off with a Dance-remix/cover of Kiss’ classic disco-era hit, “I Was Made for Lovin’ You”. I heard someone in my dorm listening to it one day and it inspired me to make the following mix-tape. I asked to borrow the CD, then returned it after I’d made the tape.

However, my favorite part of this listening experience has to be when the soft, smooth, bluesy melody of “Forever Night Shade Mary” by Latin Playboys comes to a close, only to be instantly succeeded by Sepultura’s “Murder” , which assaults your eardrums like a barrage of serrated sledgehammers. What an awesome feeling!

Here’s an annotated breakdown of this music mix…

“You Name It!”
Mix Tape (circa ’96-’97) review: 110min TDK CDpower Cassette
Side A
-I Was Made for Lovin’ You (Dance Mix) I never listen to dance music, unless I happen to be at a club or something, which for me is once in a blue moon. It’s only because it’s a Kiss cover that I put it on this tape.
-Space-Dye Vest (Dream Theater) This is one of the best songs Dream Theater ever recorded. I love the seamless blend of piano and slow, heavy guitar riffs this song showcases.
-Suicide Note Pts I & II (Pantera) A 2-part song by Pantera, that in itself represents the 2 extremes of their own unique sound in metal.
-Tomorrow (J Walsh) An obscure mellow tune by Joe Walsh about procrastination, I included it here to avoid stringing too many metal songs together, however I was in college, so maybe I identified with the lyrics too.
-Bleeding Me (Metallica) One of my personal favorites from Metallica’s Load album.
-Deuce (Hellmenn) A fast, punky cover of the Kiss classic.
-The Heart of the Matter (D. Henley) Just felt like a bit of 80’s pop…
-Turbo Lover (Judas Priest) The heavy metal titan’s least ‘metal’ hit (lots of synth on this song, thank the 80’s for that), but I still like it.
-Then She Kissed Me (Kiss) Kiss covering the classic 50’s hit.
-Last Exit (Pearl Jam) Needed a ‘grunge’-era song somewhere, I thought this number was a bit underrated from the Vitalogy album.
Side B
-Peace in Mississippi (Hendrix) An excellent instrumental from one of the most legendary guitarists of all time. Never heard of it? Do yourself a favor & listen to it NOW.
-Life in the Fast Lane (Eagles) This is a live version from the “Hell Freezes Over” album. Can’t beat the vibe of this band that had just reunited.
-Polly (Nirvana-unplugged) This unplugged version really rocks!
-Rip It Out (Haphazard) Another Kiss cover, this one comes from “Dressed to Kill: An Independent Tribute to Kiss”
-Silent Scream (Slayer) When Slayer tackle issues in their music, they’re brutal about it. This one’s no different. Be warned, it deals with abortion.
-Long Day (Matchbox 20) Back when MB20 actually rocked!
-Forever Night Shade Mary (Latin Playboys) This song comes from the Desperado Soundtrack. Robert Rodriguez’ selection of songs & how he works them into this film is simply fantastic. I bought the soundtrack because of how well it enhanced the film.
-Murder (Sepultura) This is probably the heaviest song on this mix. From the “Arise” album, it thrashes as fast as any song from the mid-80’s
-Down In a Hole (Alice In Chains-unplugged) Another live, acoustic grunge song. Again, there’s something special about live performances, and the acoustic arrangement on this song makes it all the better.
-Stir it Up (Cool Runnings Soundtrack) Diana King covers the Bob Marley classic.
-Love Gun (Flipp) This is a very different arrangement of a Kiss classic. Slowed down to about half the tempo of the original and played on acoustic guitar, its practically a different song.
-More Human Than Human (White Zombie-Remix) Taken from “Supersexy Swingin’ Sounds: The Astro-Creep Remixes.” As far as remixes go, I find this one really cool.
-Train to Nowhere (Great White) From Great White’s live album, “Stage”, this bluesy rock song has a great groove.
-Strong Enough (Sheryl Crow) Straight forward Sheryl Crow. Another acoustic number.
-Hard Luck Woman (Garth Brooks) One last Kiss cover to close this music mix. Although Garth is to Country what Kiss is to Rock N’ Roll, he does a great job covering this song.

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