In high school, I bought a cassette tape, special ordered from the Strawberries Records between my house and my school. This was same record store that would later ask our band to play the midnight release of Metallica’s short hair album. The tape was from a band my friend had taped off the college radio station, put on a mix tape and delivered to me like a precious secret. We spent fall of our senior year dissecting and detective finding out all we could about all of the mystery bands---Mission of Burma, the Queers and Archer of Loaf. When I got Archers of Load Icky Mettle I had it in my walkman for weeks.
Ok, I am aware how dated this may seem to you. Before digital playlists and apps that can name that tune for you, we had radio mysteries and friends of friends, and older brothers and sisters sharing their music. I still have a few mixtapes from high school. The music may be available digitally but I treasure the cardboard inserts, careful handwriting, and wear from pockets or bottoms of backpacks and car floors.
I wanted to make a mixtape for a friend who was going through a break-up. We are older and smarter and our decisions may be more calculated but we still feel sad and, sometimes, indulgent. I wanted to make a mixtape celebrating the range of emotions, something like driving around the dark suburbs in New Hampshire listening to Archers of Loaf over and over, broken hearted, with a broken hearted friend, laughing because we were sad and we didn’t know yet how angry we could be.
Here is to the explorations of feelings. It’s a bit over the top, but sometimes that is what you need. I ended up not making this as a mix for my friend because when it was done,it didn’t seem right for him. And by now, he’s moved on, doing better than either of us knew could be. Now this mix is for you.