As technology has evolved, so has the method for turning friends, family, co-workers and that cute girl in your political science class onto a band or song you can’t get out of your head.
It started with the cassette mixtape.
The cassette mixtape is the handwritten letter of musical tastemaking.
Sure, the cassettes sounded like listening to a song on a stereo wrapped in a giant tube sock, but making a mixtape was a tediously personal gesture.
It took time to pop cassette after cassette into your dual tape deck, stopping both at just the right moment so as to prevent whatever song came after Snow’s “Informer” from bleeding onto your well-crafted mixtape. Not to mention the painstaking, carpal tunnel-inducing task of scribbling the track listing onto those impossibly small cards folded into the clear plastic case of each cassette.
The mixtape’s 20-year reign over musical tastemaking and non-threatening flirting would not last.
The mix CD was the new kid on the block.
All you needed was a stack of relatively cheap blank CDs, the necessary computer hardware and hundreds of songs — acquired, let’s face it, illegally — to get your friends excited about John Mayer or get saddled with a bootleg of last week’s Phish show in Wisconsin from your hippie cousin.
But as the pop music landscape grew increasingly digital, the mix CD, too, became a relic.
All seemed lost until Sweden’s wildly popular music streaming service Spotify launched in the United States in July to much fanfare.
The service, which has about 15 million users worldwide, allows people to legally stream thousands of songs for free and share playlists with friends. It has breathed new life into stateside music fans.
The service’s launch also birthed this column.
Think of it as a weekly mixtape.
Every week, a new playlist of eight songs assembled in the spirit of a specific theme will be available — for free — on Spotify.
This week’s theme: Change. Eight songs about transformation to celebrate the rebirth of The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette’s new entertainment section, Lowcountry Current:
• David Bowie, “Changes” — Don’t overthink it. Anyone assembling a playlist about change would be remiss not to include this Bowie classic. Besides, it’s probably the most famous song about change that isn’t ...
• Bob Dylan, “Times They Are A Changin’” — ... This song. It’s Dylan, an acoustic guitar and a harmonica. What more is there to say?
• Otis Redding, “A Change is Gonna Come” — The list of artists who have covered this Sam Cooke classic is disturbing in its length. Seriously, Kiki Dee? Few bring it as honestly and as soulfully as Otis Redding.
• Blind Melon, “Change” — “No Rain” may have been Blind Melon’s most popular song, but “Change” is certainly their best. A beautifully written, beautifully sung little ditty.
• Coldplay, “We Never Change” — Not sure what “I wanna live in a wooden house/Where Making more friends would be easy” means but I’m sure there is some truth there.
• The Killers, “Change Your Mind” — A tragically underrated track from The Killers’ 2004 debut “Hot Fuss.” Just a fun rock song.
• Stars, “Changes” — It is impossible to understate how great Amy Millan’s vocal is on this track. Stunning.
• LCD Soundsystem, “I Can Change” — Wonder why everyone is so upset about LCD Soundsystem disbanding earlier this year? Listen to this song and join in the mourning.
To access Lowcountry Current's Spotify playlists, click on the link below: