1. Garbage: Number One Crush
“Oh, you’re reading too much into it!”
I might have said that countless times, but it was always a lie. Each and every time, it was a lie.
2. mcchris: Tractorbeam
Countless people have received mix tapes or mix CDs from me over the years. As recently as the last holiday season, I utilized this quick ‘n’ dirty method of gift giving to compensate for a thin wallet.
3. Blind Melon: Mouthful of Cavities
I have made mixes for boyfriends, many of which were dismissed. I have made mixes for casual friends, to sell for profit, to be a cheapass, and for reasons above and beyond.
Not one time have I ever made a mix CD without putting hours of thought and effort into the damned thing.
4. Rammstein: Moskau
Those who have seen that horrible flick High Fidelity have heard what music nerds go through when they construct the perfect mix. Since 99% of the world truly can’t relate, our hard work goes unappreciated. That’s okay though. Everyone knows that music nerds don’t make great couples; one will inevitably get far too bent out of shape that the other doesn’t appreciate the same bands/artists as much as they should. Still, it’s frustrating when a layman just tosses it aside without a second thought.
5. Chroma Key: Blanket
The best — no, the most horrifying, but secretly the best — part of making a mix CD for someone is when you slip in the subliminal message. I don’t mean this literally as much as when a song is thrown into the mix with a definite statement being made. It works well for two reasons: one, you can completely deny that you meant anything by the lyrics or atmosphere of the song (“I just really like the beat!”), and two, it could work and your little message is picked up. Oh, the listener might deny to themselves that the message is there, but it just opened their ears to the possibility. Ya dig?
6. That Dog: Gagged and Tied
Point blank, mix CDs are manipulative. I don’t care if you just decided to throw together “a bunch of songs I like” onto a blank disc. There’s always a chain of influence. These songs were always selected with purpose. They were put on one disc because they belong together on one disc. Deny it all you like, there’s a subconscious choice being acted upon. Even when I made mix discs to donate to the place where I work out, you bet that I chose selections that had my personality written all over them.
7. Dream Theater: Misunderstood
We, lovers of music, do this because we care. We manipulate your senses because deep down, we want others to take home a little piece of us. We attach every moment of our lives and relate every emotion to something conveyed in a piece of music, somewhere. We’re as easy to read as an open book. Hell, we’ll give you the index. All you have to do is relax and hit play.
8. Prince: Gett Off
As a recipient of a mix, one should truly be wary. I do remember years back speaking with a guy in a chat room who happened to be a big GWAR fan. I’m rad, so of course I have heard of GWAR. This made him very excited for some reason, perhaps because I’m female and can relate to his music taste. While I don’t remember giving him my mailing address, I did receive a GWAR mix tape in the mail from this guy.
Now, I know mix tapes. I didn’t touch that damned thing.
9. Sneaker Pimps: Spin Spin Sugar
Still, in the case of something less anonymous, if you’re not a big “music fan,” steps should definitely be taken to understand just why someone gave you a particular mix. Perhaps it was innocent; maybe you asked someone who is a fan of a band you heard in passing if they would pass along some more of their tunes. The chances of this mix being corrupt with piles of mixed messages is usually slight; after all, this person is likely just happy to have your attention and to be able to pass along something they believe in.
10. Self: So Low
If this person just offered to make you a mix disc of “songs I like,” however, that’s another ball of wax. Expect to see inside this person’s soul. It may or may not be entirely serious, but a definite large chunk of life will be discerned if you look hard enough.
11. Liz Phair: Flower
However, if this person decided to make you a mix of songs they like, yet they seem to have a bit of the ol’ eye for ya, then take notes. Inside these songs, you will find exactly what you would be getting by having a relationship with this person. If it’s all crazy hump songs, you’re likely going to get humped. If it’s all depressed emo songs, you’re heading into psycho moodyville. If every song is angry and murderous, make sure you own a gun or another self defense weapon.
12. Snake River Conspiracy vs. Snog: Breed (Genethics Mix)
Keep in mind that most people who carefully piece together a mix CD will try to be a lot less blatant than that. The key to a good mix-with-meaning is a heavy dose of subtlety as well as the occasional message that is clear as day. This adds to the mystery of the creation without being so vague as the listener would completely miss the hidden agenda. The point is to plant the seed; not a giant tulip bulb, but not the whisp of a dandelion.
13. Ol’ Dirty Bastard: Shimmy Shimmy Ya (Buckethead Mix)
If your mix-maker is clever enough, he or she will toss in a track or two to completely throw you off of your guard.
14. The Gathering: Monsters
Secretly, mixmasters want you to confront us about our sneaky overtones. We want to deny it and claim it’s all in your head, or we want to discuss the situation at hand without bringing it up. We want the satisfaction of knowing that we got to you. We want to see our creation live and breathe, capture your mind and emotions, and kick some ass onward. It’s vilification of our skills and satisfaction that we can have an effect. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.
15. Slipknot: Vermillion, Pt. 2
The worst thing you can do to someone who makes you a mix is to completely ignore it. Let it rot on your shelf. Never spin it, never bother looking at the track list. With that, you have removed all of the power. You have not relinquished control. You, my friend, have beaten the music geek. On the downside, this will likely infuriate said music geek and he/she will likely lose interest or look for someone who cares more about them and their tastes. Keep this in mind, as it’s great ammunition when you need to make someone feel great OR make them feel bad.
16. Lacuna Coil: Distant Sun
Then, there’s turning the tables on the music geeks of the world. If you dig one of us monstrosities, make us a mix CD. That’s better than flowers, steak, and possibly even head. It shows you care about our passion. Even if you’re not very musically inclined and your selections include exerpts from Half-Baked, it’s the thought that counts. Just remember that this recipient will analyze it relentlessly with the same sort of desire that they hope you analyze anything they hand out.
17. Kidneythieves: Black Bullet
Of course, if you received a mix CD from me over the holidays last year, it meant nothing. No hidden meaning. Nada. You’re reading far too much into it.