on mix tapes

Rob Gordon in High Fidelity said it best:

“The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don’t wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules.”

I love making mixes. The right combination of music is essential to so many situations, from first dates (see: Fast Times at Ridgemont High) to dinner parties. But on no occasion is an awesome mix more important than on a long-distance run.

I know that, as a runner, I’m supposed to derive all sorts of euphoric feelings from putting one foot in front of the other for miles. That the sound of my breathing (panting) should be all the music I need to power me through those hours. There are those who even say I’m cheating by running with headphones on, because I rely on the music to provide the extra boost needed instead of seeking it from within. To those holier-than-thou runners I say, “You can keep your labored breathing sounds. I’m jammin’ to Kanye.”

Distance running is a mental game. I am a mentally weak participant. The only thing that keeps me going is the hours of cool music I get to enjoy while taking in the scenery from the road.

I take into consider several things in making a half-marathon mix. First, I need  a balance between aggressive, make-me-pick-up-the-pace songs and slower, takin’-it-easy songs. Next, I try to ensure it’s a nice mix of road-tested and  just-getting-to-know-you tunes, so that I’m not annoyed by an overplayed selection or a new song I thought I might like but just don’t.

I don’t want to go out too fast or too slow, and I don’t want to get complacent or worn out. My feet need to maintain a steady pace and I rely on my music to help me do that.

Here’s what I came up with for my approximately two-hour run (I added an extra hour’s worth as back-up. You never know what can happen out there on the course):
Apartment Story,    The National
At My Heels,    Twin Shadow
Black Sheep,    Metric
Change,   John Waite
Change Your Mind,    The Killers
Crown On the Ground,    Sleigh Bells
Dead Disco,    Metric
Death,     White Lies
Dog Days Are Over,    Florence + The Machine
Empire State of Mind (feat. Alicia Keys),    Jay-Z
The End Has No End,    The Strokes
Evil,    Interpol
Friends & Lovers,    Mickey Avalon
From Nothing to Nowhere,    Pinback
Gold Gun Girls,   Metric
Hard to Explain,    The Strokes
Heads Will Roll,    Yeah Yeah Yeahs
An Honest Mistake,    The Bravery
Idiot Heart,    Sunset Rubdown
Keep the Car Running,    Arcade Fire
Marathon,    Tennis
The Modern Age,   The Strokes
Mongrel Heart,    Broken Bells
My Love,    The Bird and the Bee
Not In Love (Feat. Robert Smith),     Crystal Castles
The Prayer,    Bloc Party
Rebellion (Lies),    Arcade Fire
Repeaterbeater,    Mew
Sour Cherry,    The Kills
Starry Eyed Surprise,    Paul Oakenfold
Still Sound,    toro y moi
Sunday Morning,    No Doubt
Tall Boy,    Har Mar Superstar
This is a Problem,    Great Northern
The Underdog,    Spoon
Up the Down Escalator,    The Chameleons
Walking on a Dream,    Empire Of The Sun
You Talk Way Too Much,    The Strokes
Young Blood,    The Naked & Famous
Zero,    Yeah Yeah Yeahs
999 Buttons,    Back Ted n Ted


One thought on “on mix tapes

  1. Pingback: a mix for Coachella 2011 | it's on my mind

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