I suppose I should start with my youngest, as for my children, it was he who ever first requested a “mix tape” from me.
“I want one just like that Heavy Metal one you did for your work friends, but with all different songs. OK?” OK??? I was only too glad to oblige, as buttons busted from my usually sunken chest. The mix, eventually entitled “Metal Haze” (partially in ode to the general character of my son, and partially because my original mix was entitled “Metal Daze”) turned out pretty well, and it still sees regular rotation on family road trips.
It wasn’t too long (figure about ten minutes after the youngest’ initial request) for my daughter to also request a mix tape all her own. One that you might have guessed from the title of this post, was eventually called “Sap…” And, as you may also be inclined to think, there is nary a tune on here that is even remotely heavy and/or metal in nature. In fact, the entire album consists of the weepiest stuff available. Well, the weepiest good stuff, at any rate. Every song is about love lost, love searched for, or love in vein. Every tune concerns itself with people passed, or people passed over. Almost every track is slow and mopey in nature, and at least eight out of every ten is fueled solely by a piano, played mournfully and low key. In fact, it’s not until the very end, when you hear Kermit softly plunking at the strings of his stringless banjo, that you get to see any sort of real Light introduced to the mixture.
My daughter loved it when it was first produced, and played it far too loud and often for C’s liking, but she has since moved on to skinny boys who need voice modulators and overly painted girls with far more tit than talent. I, however, have not. I, however, still enjoy hearing Regina’s call slide softly into Tori’s winter. I still like to dream with the Waterboys of the stolen child, but only until the time of Matisyahu’s song. I agree with Morrissey that everyday is like Sunday, when trapped under The Church’s milky way. I know that while the Style Council may only be a stone’s throw away, they’re farther still than the boy in Suzanne Vega’s belfry. The one that resides in Liverpool. And I know that unlike INXS and no matter how much I beg to go, I will never be allowed a ride on Johnson’s aeroplane anymore than I will ever truly be able to hear Marlene Dietrich’s favorite poem, spoken of so eloquently by Peter Murphy. I have found the somebody that Depeche Mode is in search of, even if at times I feel much like U2 about my not being able to live with, or without her.
In short, and if you know even half the songs mentioned above, you know that the mix is an outright lamentable tear jerker. And yeah, I even included “Total Eclipse of The Heart”. And I made that work as well.
“OK t. That was, ummm, interesting. Care to fill us in on what the whole point of telling us that was?” Well, I happened to be listening to this mix on yet another one of my solitary walks (no worries, it’s just that C works a lot of evenings), and it in turn brought to mind the “Old Punk” mix I had told you of last time, as they’re both part of the same series. Yes, I actually think of my mix tapes as a series. And yes, the series even has a title. “for me” in fact. So it works a little like this. For instance, “Old Punk” is actually “for me: Old Punk.” Likewise, “Metal Daze” was actually originally released (well, sent out in the mail) as “for me: Metal Daze.” The disc created for my youngest, in turn, became “for E: Metal Haze” and so on. In all, there’s a total of fifty such discs included in this series, sent out to well over twenty people each (spreading the disease, one listener at a time).
Hey, I believe I told you at some point that I’m pretty high maintenance. Don’t know why you’re sitting there now, looking so surprised.
Anywho, after what might have been my longest digression ever, let’s get this kid back on track, shall we? When comparing the two mixes, I realized that for all of my punk rock bravado, all of my muffled rage, “Sap…” is actually the mix that far better fits me to a “T” (no pun intended). For all of my anger and pissery – the moans, longings and bellyaches of “Sap…” are much closer to what feels comfortable escaping from my lips – all things being equal. I understand how this could lead some of you to make the giant leap of deductionary skills to the conclusion that it is actually I who am the Sap here instead of my daughter. And to those of you who did, all I can say is “spot on!”
I’m thinking that this is the very reason that “Sap…” is one my favorite mixes in the bunch (besides the notable exception of “for me: The Gayties,” but that’s a post for another time altogether). It’s not so much because I had an accidental stroke of mix-genius when I made it, but rather it’s because it came forth as a conversation natural to my regular mood. When Holly Brook asks where’d you go, I find myself singing along much more honestly than when Wattie is bellowing about being a mucky pup. When Blue October is begging to be hated, I am much more inclined to give in than when Motley Crue is telling me to shout at the devil. I may very well, at one point in time, have wanted to take on the world. But I’m sure if I had my druthers, I would much rather just give it a big old hug.
You may think that that’s quite alright. That that’s the way to be. But I fear that by being like that, it puts me in the very same belfry as that boy living in Suzanne Vega’s Liverpool. You see, in the song, he’s a little bit crazy. A lot crazy in fact. “He sounds like he’s missing something or someone that he knows he can’t have now.” I fear that I too am missing something. I fear that being sap-like, while natural to me, is not the way one is supposed to be. I suppose you might be able to insert here a little blurb about people being just people, but that song didn’t make the mix. And besides, I can’t be certain that my being more sap-prone than not is actually “who I am,” as opposed to just a temporary condition, a momentary phase. You know, assuming that “moments” can last forty two plus years. Am I missing something? I’m none to sure. Is it important if I am? Possibly. Possibly very. Do I want to know if I am? Pretty certain, not. Will I end this post on a high note and – like the mix tape – with a jolly frog singing of rainbows? Most decidedly not.
No, I’m pretty sure you’ve all heard that little ditty before. Instead I will leave you with Johnson and his aeroplane. Firstly because I feel it’s the best song that INXS ever did, and secondly, because it is a flight I so long to someday take. If for no other reason, just to make sure I’m not up in that belfry.