I listen to a lot of new music and still my favorite way to learn about new sounds is through recommendations from friends in the form of a mix CD. How retro is that? I’ve tried iTunes Genius, music blogs, magazines, Sirius, even Pandora, but nothing tops a cleverly organized mix CD from a friend. It offers a glimpse into someone’s soul and rarely am I disappointed (though I might be a little disappointed if the CD turned out to be 90 minutes of Death Metal.)
I’ve been on a mixed CD kick lately, launched the night a new Ghanaian friend popped in his sounds at a party, and I was so blown away I pestered him to put together a mix CD for me. It took a few days of gentle prodding but he eventually came through with two CDs featuring vintage African horns, new African trip hop, Bhangra — songs I’d never heard — plus current pop ranging from Carly Jepson and Rihanna to 80s oldies like “I Would Walk 500 Miles” by The Proclaimers! I love that song! I was rocking out for days. I barely know the guy but feel like we’re old friends just through his musical tastes. I was inpsired enough to put together a few mix CDs of my own for my sister Cassie (hope she likes them!) and just the other night my friend Mary lent me two eclectic dance CD mixes…which I’m listening to now.
The one significant downside to making a modern mix CD is that iTunes limits the number of times you can burn a song purchased through their store. I think three to five burns per song is the limit. Any more than that is considered piracy. You can get around these restrictions by scouring through your old hard copy CD collection, purchasing used CDs on Amazon for peanuts (I’m talking 35 cents, plus shipping), or downloading songs from other sources.
Have you put together a mix CD recently? What a great, last minute and highly personable Valentine’s gift.