Ode to the Compilation Tape/CD

Remember the days before downloadable music and mp3 players?
Remember putting together compilation tapes/discs for your new girlfriend/boyfriend?
Remember buying the ‘Best Of’ album by your favourite band and it didn’t have your favourite obscure b-side song on?

Well these are things that no longer plague us, thanks to the digitalisation of most of our musical history. Some will say that’s a great thing, and we should embrace the technology – after all, it means we are only ever a few clicks away from buying music, and that’s good for our cultural well-being.

But! Is there a greater thrill than handing a cd/tape over to your new love, containing a collection of songs that you love and hope that he or she will too? The hours of rooting through your music collection, finding the right song, with the right sentiment, or the right lyric, and then sticking on a tape/cd in a certain order?

And how about for all you folks with a behemoth of a music collection, but no mp3 player in your car?! You’re driving to work, and you fancy a bit of music, but you don’t want to listen to the one band all day. A-ha, here’s a CD with all manner of things on it! It’s easy, isn’t it?!

Personally, I’ve lost count of all the compilation CD’s and tapes I’ve put together over the years. I tend to create a new one every so often, usually to consolidate recent additions to my collection, like when I met Marisa and she introduced me to loads of new stuff I’d never heard before – Mando Diao and the early Fleet Foxes EP’s spring immediately to mind – and of course I wanted them all in one place. On a CD, in my car.

Another reason would be to produce my own ‘Best of’ compilations of bands I liked. It’s clearly not feasible to carry all my Beatles albums around in the car with me, and I don’t own the Red and Blue Albums, so I generally put together my own 1962-66 and 1967-70 collections together. Which means I can include such gems as ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ and ‘Hey Bulldog’ that don’t make it on to the mainstream compilations, but I like just as much.

And then, there are those songs that you like to listen to so damned much, you just want them all together, one after the other.

So, dear readers, here’s a challenge for you:
Imagine I’ve given you a blank CD and give me a list of 10 songs that you would put on it. They can be songs you love, your own ‘Best of’, or even just ten tracks you think I should hear.


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