TDK cassettes were expensive in three packs. It was so awesome to get those with allowance money. Maxell's. Sony's. Randix? For some reason I remember Randix. Is that a real brand? Anyway, I used to record songs off the radio when I was really little. I wouldn't be able to put the songs in order but at least I had the songs I liked on tape. It was so important to hit the red record button the millisecond after the announcer's voice allowed the first lyric to start. Do you know how hard it is to get that just right? The reflexes of an eight year old! Mix-tapes were pretty much how I learned how to listen to music on my own.
I played songs over and over and over so I could memorize the lyrics. The one I distinctly remember is Musto & Bones' "Dangerous On The Dance Floor."A song which I still remember most of the lyrics to whenever I hear it. This of course was to impress the friends I did not have, but the people who became my friends by default - the baby sitter's kids.
All of the four children in that family had very similar features to their father whom I saw very rarely but his face always looked angry even when he was smiling. They were gingers with reddish coarse hair and freckles. All the children looked a lot like him and I never knew if the girls were being nice to me or going to beat me up.
So the two older brothers would spin House in the musty Cicero basement and us girls wanted to be so much older than we were...to be tough chicks who hung with the Majestic Party Crew. The MPC doesn't exist anymore but it was one of numerous hood-rat gangs like it throughout Chicago in the 80s.
There was a reason why us girls wanted so bad to be older. This was a time when the music and the clubs were full of endless possibilities. The Cotton Club, Warehouse, AKA's. The guys would talk about it non-stop, obsess about it, it was their everything. House music 4 lyfe.
Tangent over as I connect 80s basement time with the obsession of the the mix-tape...which leads me into: So now I'm obsessed with playlists. Yeah yeah, iTunes has been around since your mother's born and playlists are 200 years ago but now that Spotify is part of my life, when I say obsessed, I mean obsessed. The entire catalog of music of THE WORLD at large, at my fingertips. Are you kidding me? I am playlist trigger happy. If I hear a song I like that makes me think of another song, BOOM! PLAYLIST, MOFO!
But you still can't stick a pencil in a playlist to rewind it. You can't clip the tags off so nobody can record over it. You can't put a sticker label with curly purple pen writing. You don't have the absolutism of a 45 minute parameter. I don't care. Playlists are what I wish I had when my crappy boom box ate a fresh new tape.