Saturday, February 20, 2010

Love is a Mix Tape - Rob Sheffield

To me, a mix tape is one of the most special gifts you can receive from another person. They can take a long time to make, and they are filled with inside jokes, moments shared, secret messages - or maybe just a lot of great music the other person likes and cares enough about you to want to share. With iTunes and CD burners, making mix CDs is a much easier task these days than when we had to the radio all day just hoping to catch that one song. But, I still find them incredibly fun. And, since I'm not in high school anymore, I don't often receive mixes from other people, but when I do, I most certainly treasure them. For these reasons, Love is a Mix Tape was a book I just had to read. Rob Sheffield is a music writer for Rolling Stone - so he knows what he's talking about. Each chapter starts out with the playlist from one of his mix-tapes - and each chapter then goes on to explain that period in his life - why he made the mix or why someone made it for him, what the songs meant, why he loved them so much. But, these aren't just random stories from Sheffield's life. They are stories strung together by his relationship with his wife Renee - the one person it seems understood him - in the same way the lyrics to specific songs just seem to get it. To me, this book was an amazing love story - not because it's very well written (it's not) or that the stories themselves were all that captivating (they aren't). But, rather that Sheffield used a medium that clearly means so much to him (music) to express his feelings where words often failed. Other than being interested in the mix tape idea of this book, I didn't really know anything else about it when I started reading. So, be forewarned - this is sad. It has all the good stuff about falling in love - the excitement and the comfort, but it also has the most raw parts of loss. All with the message that while there are some things you most certainly will never get over, there is always music to help you get through.

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