CJ and I are roughly the same age and share an affinity for certain kinds of music, so more often than not his past experiences resonate with my own. For his Intl Wota Summer Refreshment Program post, CJ goes into great detail about the art of the summer mixtape, which made me sit back in my motorized rocking chair as I sipped my Viagra-laced fiber-heavy oatmeal juice, and go, “Ohhh… Those were the days…. Wait, where am I? Who I am I? Mother? Wait… Ohh… Those were the days…”
His choice of refreshment was practical and tasty – myself, I prefer the Southern Style Sweet Iced Tea that Arizona makes, or even the Fruit Punch – and his shot of his workplace was… Well, come on. We all expected Reina to pop in there somewhere, right?
CJ discusses the way one makes a mixtape then and now, and how modern technology makes it easier but that there are still some limitations that must be considered… Otherwise, it ain’t a mixtape, it’s just a Playlist on your iTunes or something along that line. As with all other innovations, the old limitations and obstacles that we hated suddenly wind up being a feature instead of a bug, especially when choices are opened up into infinity. He winds up with a twenty-song mix which he goes over, track-by-track, and regular readers of TGML will not be surprised at his range of choices – a mix of Western music and Jpop, with the latter including Whiteberry, Scandal, AKB48, and several Hello! Project units.
The inclusion of Tanaka Reina’s “Manatsu no Kousen” caught me a little off guard, – at first I was thinking of that wonderful cover of “Memory Seishun no Hikari” from many years ago, which made me smile… Then I remembered that my fondness for Reina has dwindled over the years, cried over all that’s been lost from my more youthful wota days, and finally asked the nurse to change my Depends.
Beyond that, I had the usual reaction someone has when going over someone else’s mix: thinking of how I would’ve done it differently. Like, I would’ve included at least one early B-52s, and the “Shiawase Beam” song, and the Ramones’ “Holiday in the Sun” cover, and Bennie K’s “Endless Summer”, and the Trashmen’s “Surfing Bird” as the closer instead of the Beach Boys. But of course, CJ would call me a philistine and hit me over the head with his cane, then I’d tell him to get off of my lawn, and finally the orderlies will have to break us up and put us in separate corners of the nursing home.
Seriously, though, that’s the appeal of the mixtape as an activity: it’s a DIY project that looks so easy but can take on complexities the more one thinks about it, and when done properly can be a perfect reflection of who one is, of what one treasures. There’ll be the predictable choices, but also the surprises that no one expects, as well as the points of ambivalence (should I have gone with this song, or this other song?) which only the creator will know about but speaks volumes upon self-reflection. In other words, a simple summer mix tape can be more than a simple summer mix tape, and CJ makes that quite plain with his post.
So give the post a read, consider what your own mixtape would be like, maybe make one up and share it! Oh, and one last thing: “Papa ooh mow mow papa ooh mow mow mow…”