Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Make-Out Mixes

A friend asked if I'd ever made a make-out mix, which inevitably led to a discussion of which tracks could be on such a mix and which could not. I'd never made a mix like that before. The closest I'd ever come was a jazz/chillout playlist I made for an evening when I was preparing dinner for someone.

I'd been at her place a few days earlier and we let her iPod, set to random, do all the work. Most of the music I'd given her, which, on the one hand, meant music I loved was playing. On the other hand, I love oddball music. The obscure singer/songwriter tracks were fine, but the techno and hardcore punk were so mood-crushing as to be funny. Which served to kill the mood that much more. So I compiled a generic list that was, at least, free of egregious mood killers.

The mix was playing while I was preparing dinner (chicken in a red wine marinade, I think) and José Feliciano's cover of "California Dreamin'" came on. My date wasn't there yet, but all I wanted, when I heard that song, was to hold her close and dance so slowly to the soft sounds of that guitar.

This is the mix I put together from that memory, and maybe that mood dominates more than it should. Instead of being a make-out mix, this is the soundtrack for a lonely late night drive in autumn across unadorned Midwestern plains. I don't know if the person behind the wheel is driving to or from someone, but that someone's the only thing on the driver's mind. There's a radio signal fading in and out, broadcast by a DJ who doesn't know what he's doing to that driver, but the DJs never do.

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