Thursday, January 21, 2010
How to Make the Perfect Love Mix CD
“I wanna date a musician. I wanna live with a musician. She’d write songs at home and ask me what I thought of them, and maybe even include one of our little private jokes in the liner notes. Maybe a little picture of me in the liner notes. Just in the background somewhere.” In the movie High Fidelity, John Cusack plays a record store owner down on love. This quotation sums up how a lot of people feel about love and music, two of the most powerful aspects of life. Although the fantasy of living with and dating a musician may not become everyone’s reality, music is ever present in relationships. Personally being someone with no talent in my pinky finger to play an instrument or beautifully sing a song, I have become a master of sorts when it comes to judging and listening to music. So, for those of us who cannot strum a song on our guitar for those we love, making a mix CD can be the best way to express your emotions, especially when it comes to young love. However, to perfect the mix CD, there is a certain route you must take, with specific steps and directions.
First, choose a theme for the mix to create the lovey-dovey atmosphere. Ask yourself: what is this feeling that is driving you to make the mix? Is it puppy love, premature love, or an anniversary of when you first met? What degree and types of emotions are you feeling? Are these feelings mutual, or an experiment? Depending on what is going on, a theme or tone to the CD is an absolute must. From there, choosing songs can be a much simpler process. Young teenage love? Try “Anyone Else but You” - -the theme song Ellen Page and Michael Cera croon at the end of Juno. Do you share a passion? If you’re both fans of eighties rock, maybe power ballads like Air Supply’s “Making Love out of Nothing at All” can be the route to take. Or, if you’ve been together for a while, a group of songs with personal meaning can make a huge impact and a great keepsake, especially if the songs have become inside jokes of sorts. If you’re feeling stuck on what love songs ARE, Google is always a source. There are always those crazy kids on YouTube making the “greatest love songs of all time” videos. Also, if you have a large iTunes collection another idea is to simply search the word “love” into your search box of your music library. We all know that love is the most popular subject written about in music. When I search “love” in my iTunes, I receive 248 songs - - a total of 16.6 hours of possibilities. Then you know it’s time to start listening.
Once you have so many songs decided, usually fifteen is a decent amount; the tracks must be placed in order. It’s a lot like John Cusack, once again, in the music movie High Fidelity. “It looks like you’re reorganizing your records. What is this though? Chronological?” “No.” “Not alphabetical?” “Nope.” “What?” “Autobiographical.” The same thing applies to a lone mix album. The ordering of a CD that contains random songs by varying artists can be the deciding factor as to whether a CD is enjoyable to hear. This is no click and drag affair.
Although the entire mix CD process is an art, this may be the trickiest step to master. The easiest approach would be to listen through the tracks, know the beginnings and endings and how they feel. Make sure when putting them in order that the songs have a flow effect, and there are no dramatic changes. No need to have this person listen to the velvety ballad of “song,” only to be startled by the following track, an uplifting, powerful “song.” Maybe the ordering of the tracks tells a story. One night a friend and I spent hours poring over music, and by the next day we were able to make a soundtrack to the night, twenty songs in order of events and when they were listened to the night before. Whenever it is played now, a flood of memories tend to rush over me. Once the tracks are chosen and set in place, the playlist can be burned onto a CD. The ping noise of a completed album is a gratifying feeling; I feel successful. However, once the collection is burned, the work is not done, and the most fun is still yet to be had.
Cover art can be enjoyable if you do it right or horrifying if you’re no artist. Luckily, you have many options. Whether the physical CD has a doodle or simply a listing of the tracks, something on the CD and/or CD case is crucial. Maybe even a date of when the CD was created or the date of something that occurred that prompted you to create the album. Do not forget to give the CD a title! A great title to sum up an album can be the ultimate deciding factor as to whether the music is actually played - - or if the case is even opened. Trouble coming up with a title? Writer’s block got ya down? Sometimes, especially with a love song mix, a title of one of the tracks can sum up what you are feeling or what you are attempting to say. However, through this entire process, there is a line one should never, ever cross, and it is a foggy area you could call the creep factor. When doodling or naming the album, consider what you choose very, very carefully. Creepy or suggestive forms of art, more often than not, will not be warmly received. So keep the title in mind, it can make the difference between mediocre and an immense impact. Consider this part of the process judging a book by its cover. We know we shouldn’t but we just can’t help it.
So, give it a test run! Make a love song mix CD for your personal recollections or as a unique, inexpensive yet genuine gift for someone else. Sometimes perfection takes a few tries, so making perfect mix CDs could even become a time-consuming, rewarding hobby. And, if anything goes wrong, simply alter these steps and you’ve got a hell of a break-up mix.