Posted by: Chelsea Novak | November 25, 2004

I’ll bring all your dreams alive

The mixed tape as been a medium of communication for people for decades now (though I hear the kids these days are using those newfangled CD things). The mixed tape could express all the things your teen heart so desperately wanted to say, yet veil it under angsty, cutting edge music that could easily be written off as just cool and not representative of anyone’s feelings. You know, just in case.

I have always been a lover of the mixed tape. Teenager me poured my heart into hours of tape making where boys who’d more than caught my eye would get a heartfelt mix of Enigma, The Pixies, Belly, Pearl Jam, Camile de Saint-Saens (I liked to mix it up a little), EMF and The Pet Shop Boys. Did I ever give them the tapes? No. No I didn’t. I listened to the tapes and thought about giving them the tapes. I did that a lot.

M and I have exchanged many a tape, though less so since we started living together. You know, cause it’s easier to say “Come here and listen. This song makes me think of you.” Anyway, the first mixed tape that M ever made me was what pretty much sealed the deal in terms of my love for him. It was, without a doubt, the most perfect mixed tape ever. Songs that I like, but didn’t necessarily own myself, the inclusion of rare remixes to flash those musical knowledge credentials (more important than you might think) and song selection that stated pretty clearly that he knew what I was all about and very much dug it. I may share the track list one day, but for now, it’s between M and me.

Anyway, It was on the basis of this totally amazing mixed tape that I made possibly the most schizophrenic mix tape of my life for him. Feeling that at long last I had discovered someone who understood me, I made something that reflected me, spots and all. In fact I was at such ease that I actually included a song from the soundtrack of my guiltiest secret ever.

There’s this awful, awful musical that was made in 1980 that starred Oliva Newton-John and Gene Kelly, the music done by ELO and the plot basically involves one of the nine muses of Zeus inspiring a disgruntled artist and retired singer to build a roller rink. At one point they turn into cartoons…

Everything about the movie is awful and I love it. It’s like the 11-year-old girl in me, that wanted nothing more than to be a singer and dancer somehow transferred all her feelings onto celluloid after eating a lot of sugar. I used to screen this film with friends as kind of a test of fortitude. If they could make it through the film, an undying bond was forged.

So when I poured my heart onto a tape for M, I took a chance and included “Magic” from the movie Xanadu. It is a testament to his understanding of me, and how badly he wanted to be with me, because the song didn’t scare him away. Which is pretty awesome. I was myself; the good bits and the cheesy bits and I’d found someone who gets it and even better embraces it.

Of course, I could only get him to watch the movie that one time…

Today’s sing-a-long song: “Magic” by Olvia-Newton John




  1. That was beautiful. I mean, “Xanadu” certainly wasn’t Gene Kelly’s finest moment, but… I mean, still!

    Since you brought it up, I’d like to take a moment to argue that mix CDs are for shit, as far as emotional investment is concerned. Any moron can throw a handful of tracks onto a CD in a matter of seconds. But it takes a few solid hours, and a dedicated thought process, to put a mix tape together. I would happily give a woman that I was pursuing a tape over a CD, if I didn’t think she would just assume that it was a lame attempt at being cute.

    Also, musical knowledge credentials are the most important thing, right? I mean, that’s the first thing a woman looks for in a man, isn’t it? Right?
    – Matt

  2. Chel,

    Someday, when you finally meet my biological sister, Keely, and my honorary sisters, Lindsey (who had twins on your birthday) and Jennie, we’ll teach you our dance to “Magic”. You’ll love it!


  3. The best stunts ever are in Xanadu!

    I am glad you are holding a torch for the mixed tape. I think it has a special spot in the heart of every music-loving 80s/90s child.


  4. And yet another reason why I think you are so amazing … my love of all things cheese, ah the Magic of Xanadu 🙂 Do you know how many people have never heard of this movie?

    It was like Space 1999 that I used to watch as a child (long long before the Space channel) and I would mention it to people and they thought I made it up … it became my guy test which my lovely Duke passed with flying colours. Not only did he know it, he could give plot summaries : )

    I still have a box filled with the tape mixes both made and given, sigh.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane …

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