Monday, January 16, 2012

All I Need by Matchbox Twenty

Once upon a time, iTunes wasn’t a store. It was simply an application used to play CD’s. It wasn’t until a couple months into using it that anyone I knew started using this program to import songs onto their computers (We’re talking about the early 2000s here). iTunes was far better at not only organizing music but also burning music CDs.

Before iTunes you had to import the songs, arrange a playlist, create an image and then burn that image onto a CD. Most of the time this two-hour process would mess up and you’d have to restart. iTunes slimmed this process down and it opened up the world of making mix CDs. All you had to do was drop some songs in a playlist you had previously uploaded and press burn and in about 45 minutes you would have a personalized audio CD.

I really loved making these mixes for people. I tried to create something that expressed the way I felt about them and also gave a joyful to experience. Most of the time I started the mix with faster music and ended with slower and more introspective tunes. I didn’t really try to send subliminal messages through these mix CDs. Most of the time if there was something that I wanted to say through a song, it was pretty explicit like with “Bobby Jean” by Bruce Springsteen, which I discussed in this post.

When I set out to make the first mix CD I ever made for Diana,  I spent a lot of time figuring out which songs to include. One of the first songs that came to mind was “All I Need” by Matchbox Twenty.

This song is probably the most joyful song that this band ever recorded. Released in 2002 from their third album, Matchbox Twenty leaves behind the brooding darkness of many of their hits embracing a hopeful joy.  There’s an 1960s feeling in this song even featuring a quote from The Buckingham’s hit “kind of a drag” in the bridge.

Within this shiny soundscape the lyrics talk about difficult times and people with “a sinking feeling” and being “down on themselves.” Thomas’ reaction to this in the chorus is that all he needs is someone to lean on.  It’s such a simple sentiment but at that time it was exactly how I felt about Diana. All I felt like I needed was someone to lean on and in some ways that has never changed.

Putting “All I Need” on that mix CD forever connected this song with that time in my life and the feelings I had for Diana.  When I talk to my students about music, this idea that you can create a group of songs for about how you feel is lost on them.  We don't have any more as people share songs more than playlists.

Music isn't just about how we feel about ourselves, but also how we feel about each other.  Mix CDs communicated my feelings to other people and while I haven't made a mix CD in a while, whenever I hear "All I Need" that reminds me of the joy creating one.  As dorky as they may seem, mix CDs were awesome and I wish we could embrace this unique gift of music once again.

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