(almost) 19 in 1991

I just made a muxtape.

And actually, I turned 19 in 1992, but “19 in 1991” made better copy. In any event, 1991 was a pretty influential year. I graduated high school and started college at CMU. Back then, music was a scarce resource. Not just music, but information about new music was fairly scarce as well. We read magazines, listened to the radio, and watched MTV to learn about new music. CDs were expensive, imports from Japan or the UK were $40 and locked behind glass cases in record stores. Despite all that, it was a great time to be in college, just for the music. Freshman year in college, you could size up a person with one simple question, “so, what do you listen to?” (If you needed a second opinion, you could also look at their shoes.)

We were also transitioning from cassette tapes to CDs, analogue to digital. (Vinyl is a whole other story.)

Back in the era of cassette tapes, I made a pretty damn good mixtape, complete with of course carefully chosen songs, but also, witty titles and cover made from cut up magazines. I also made mix CDs, but it wasn’t the same.

In 1991, I made a mix tape for my sister, who was still in high school. I filled it with “college music,” precisely keeping track of the song lengths to maximize the 90 minute tape. I also had to physically borrow music from new friends in my dorm. The whole process now seems antiquated, in the post-Napster world.

A couple of months ago, muxtape launched. You can upload a mix tape, or what the kids called playlists. I must say, muxtape is impressive. I am not sure of the legal issues, but the system is smart enough to automatically link your songs to amazon.com to buy the mp3. I finally got around to making a mix tape, two months everyone else seems to have.

The theme is 1991, although just like the title, I took some liberties. So, the mix tape is more early 1990s than strictly 1991, but I really tried to stick to music that I was really into and frequently listening to, which as you can see was mostly 4AD, brit pop, with a bit of grunge, and a lot of Pixies influenced music. As I said, the early 90s were a great time to be in college. I left out the bands, I “should” have been listening, at the time, but got into late. I think that goes back to the scarcity issue. The tracks include lesser known gems from familiar voices, one hit wonders, and early singles from bands before they really hit it big. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which ones fall into which category.

Enjoy, and I wonder if my sister still has that tape…

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2 Responses to (almost) 19 in 1991

  1. tina says:

    tore the house apart and still can’t find that damn tape. i’m sure it’s around here somewhere, though. not the kind of thing i’d throw away! but your muxtape has a lot of the songs from the original … blur … doctorin the tardis … sugar … rem … good stuff.

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