If you told 17-19 year old me what an iPod playlist was, that kid would probably look at you like you were speaking in tongue. More so than that, the idea of even downloading full albums from file-hosting sites as a means of discovery would be future news opposite searching for an album with track-by-track downloads on file swapping programs. My last few years of high school and early years of college were spent with mix CDs made up of my favorite tracks still played on a CD player (this ancient brick of a device) through a tape deck on my drives home in my '91 Buick LaSabre (probably the closest I'll ever come to owning a tank).
So these are five of the best CDs my friends found in my apartment and car and how I feel about them today. I'm including full track listings as to not hide any sort of shame. I will say this, I had to download the Shazam app for the iPhone because I didn't recognize some of these songs. (Writer's note: Shazam didn't work for a lot of the tracks.)
1) Sharpie Title: Too Brutal Even For Me Score: 15/17 Thoughts: Maybe at the time this was "too brutal for me," but I thought this was the heaviest stuff I'd ever come in contact with and like everything, I was being hyperbolic. The end of "Floater" into the back to back Poison the Well tracks transition pretty awesomely. Having DEP and CTtS right before the Collision Course tracks are pretty amazing in my eyes. Rock out with some technical heaviness and then party? Why the fuck not? All in all, I pretty sure there was a lot of air guitar going on in the years this CD existed in rotation.
2) Sharpie Title: Bad A Mix Score: 11/12 Thoughts: This is definitely one bad ass mix! 19-year-old me probably rocked this one out at least nine out of the seven days a week. "Admission:Regret" is still one of my favorite As Cities Burn songs and the AC/DC cut is because of my love of Empire Records. Hearing that opening track by Fear Before does make me wish they'd write another record already. I used to jam that one out after every awful test.
3) Sharpie Title: She said that I was the brightest little firefly in her jar… Score: 7/13 Thoughts: Okay, so this one, my buddy Drake immediately laughed at the title when he found it. Once we started spinning it, the jokes kept coming. Obviously a mix I made when I was young and heartbroken, it kind of makes me realize why certain music thrives today - and somehow always will. I still very much love about half the tracks on this (Clarity Process was one of Rise Records' finest and underrated first acts, and go download everything from Blueprint Car Crash), but I'm not buying a lot of the sentiments now. It just goes to show you though, music has a way of connecting with people - even if you might think some of it is shit years down the line. (It should be noted that some of the tracks I find awful and were earlier cuts of bands I think went on to do better.)
4) Sharpie Title: Sing me something soft sad and delicate loud and out of key sing me anything… Score: 8/10 Thoughts: This is quite an irony. I made this CD when I met the girl who broke my heart for which I made the previous CD for. So I guess this is 18-year-old me being in love for the first time. Kind of funny both albums ended on the same song. I believe I used the TBS demo just for the intro as well. Also, that ACB song is from their very first demo if you can find it. I also remember liking the demo version of that Straylight Run song a lot more than the studio version. Now I really can't tell too much of a difference. Young me used to think he knew it all.
5) Sharpie Title: Who Wants a Body Massage? Score: N/A Thoughts: Okay, so of the five CDs, and after going through as many as I could, I realized this one was one of the ones that was made my senior year of high school/summer before college. I know this for two reasons: 1) The bands that make up the release and 2) A lot of the mixes I found from my senior year of high school were tracked like this. Instead of one song from a number of bands, there were a couple songs per few bands and a usually a couple of single tracks scattered towards the end. It's an unfortunate thing really, because it shows how into specific bands I would get, and now as my inbox swells and I seek out music I know I will probably enjoy or are interested in, it goes to show how our means of discovery and how much time we spend with specific bands lasts. Back then it was downloading track by track. Now you can sit down with a full album on a stream service or illegally obtain it through a file-hosting search on Google. How the times have changed...