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Wednesday, January 26, 2005
  So is making a mix-tape for another guy's girlfriend a punchable offense?

Red House Painters "Have You Forgotten"

Small Factory "Hi Howard I'm Back"

Adorable "Homeboy"

I haven’t made a mix-tape (or cd) for a lady in years. I don’t have to; I’m wedded. I made my wife about one a month, though, back in the early days of our courtship. I never got too overtly romantic or anything with them, but I still would get slightly embarrassed when somebody else heard one of them, or even saw a tracklisting. But then, I’m a consistently awkward fellow. Listening to somebody else’s mix tape isn’t the same as reading their love letters, but it can feel similarly uncomfortable. That discomfort can be lessened, though, if the music is great, or if you don’t really know the person who put it together.

Since late 2000 I’ve been borrowing a mix cd that some guy made for a friend. I’m not quite sure who the dude was, but he definitely had some romance tangled up in his intentions. There’s nothing all that blatant (well, except for the last song, Adorable’s “Homeboy”), but the sensitive indie-pop that makes up the bulk of the thing is dripping with wist and tenderness. At first I felt sort of weird listening to this thing, but I quickly got over that. Almost every song on here is, at the minimum, pretty good; much of it is great, and, with the exception of “All the Umbrellas in London” and a Pavement song, it’s all stuff I didn’t already own. But so, we were listening to it in a car coming home from a trip to Gainesville, and I, thinking it was excellent, and not knowing it was some attempt at a romantic mix-tape by some other guy, asked if I could borrow and burn it. The friend said yes, and over four years later I still have the damn thing. I really need to get this shit back to her.

Among the twenty or so songs on this disc are the three offered up here today. “Have You Forgotten?” may be my favorite song by the Red House Painters, who are equally capable of creating boring, maudlin dreck and songs of pristine beauty. This is one of the latter, obviously. “Hi Howard I’m Back” comes from Small Factory, a band I was never into but that Jerkwater Johnson (aka SA) was passionate about. And Adorable’s “Homeboy” (a song I would never put on a tape for a girl unless I knew the deal was closed) is one of those songs I used to hear all the time on Album 88 when I was fifteen. It’s simultaneously awesome and awful. Oddly enough, I heard it for the first time since high school at a dance club in Gainesville the night before borrowing this cd.
 
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