And Now A Word From Susannah...

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Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

Brace yourselves... we've got a special post courtesy of Susannah George, who's been working with all our tape for the past couple weeks. She's got a few words on mix tapes — which was her story pitch. Take it away, Susannah!

I am obsessed with making playlists (or mix tapes as the retro cool like to call them) and I will openly admit that over the years mix tapes have made and broken many of my relationships. I still have (and listened to just last night) the mix tape that first introduced me to Mr Bungle (the lyrics to Vanity Fair swing from the sappily romantic to the downright odd, but have you swooning the whole way), while the "32-song-long-here-is-my-entire-itunes-library" (i.e. I didn't make one thoughtful decision) mix tape has been conveniently misplaced.

So when I sat down to make a Valentine's mix tape for TOTN I kept a few tried and true rules in mind, and set a few new ones: keep it short (our guest Jessica Tylkowski recommends keeping it to seven songs, yes, I agree its drastic, but I'm gonna try it), the first three songs should act as a crescendo, and no more than one song with love in the title. That said I'm a sucker for ambivalent love songs and heartbreak songs, I think they are terribly romantic, and I never get to put them on Valentine's mix tapes because some people seem to think they send an odd message.

Here's my mix:

Looking for Gold by the Tough Alliance
Romeo had Juliette by Lou Reed
Maple Leaves by Jens Lekman
New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down by LCD Soundsystem
I'll Be Seeing You by Francoise Hardy and Iggy Pop
Don't Think Twice, It's Alright by Bob Dylan
Dancing With Myself by Billy Idol



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"Sucker" by The Wedding Present

Sent by BJ | 2:10 PM | 2-14-2008

Without a doubt, "A Case of You" by Joni Mitchell

Sent by Jessica | 2:24 PM | 2-14-2008

I run a website dedicated to mix tapes, allowing anyone to post themed playlists with track by track commentary. The most remarkable thing thus far is that most Valentine inspired mixes have been more Anti-Valentine mixes, featuring song abouts break ups and love lost. Don't get me wrong, these are heartfelt mixes, just depressing. Valentine's Day really brings out the romantic in us; for or for worse!

Sent by Joseph from | 2:31 PM | 2-14-2008

I would love it if Neal could mention the International Mixtape Project on the air... You can join and someone from somewhere in the world will send you a new mixtape/CD once a month every month for a year. And you send someone else a mixtape, too - anything is game, anything is up for grabs.
I joined two months ago, and after nearly 20 years of making mix tapes for other people, I'm finally receiving a few of my own.

Sent by Thomas | 2:45 PM | 2-14-2008

My mixtape includes "Take it with me" by Tom Waits, "Live with me and be my love" by Annie Lennox (from When Love Speaks) and "God only knows" by the Beach Boys

Sent by Lynn | 2:49 PM | 2-14-2008

There are many off of the Blue Skies broken hearts album from The Ataris. In fact they have a song about making a girl a mix tape.

Sent by Rick | 2:49 PM | 2-14-2008

U2's "Wild Horses"

Sent by andrea | 2:50 PM | 2-14-2008

While I've never made a mix tape to give to someone else, I still have all the mix tapes I've been given by then-boyfriends. While the boys are gone, it's fun to listen to the tapes from time to time and remember who I was at that point in time.

Sent by Cara | 2:52 PM | 2-14-2008

The best mix tape I made had an accompanying comic book I drew that folded up into the j-card. The songs were the soundtrack to the comic. My boyfriend had asked me to do something that showed I love him, and as an artist and a musician, I nailed it. We're still together 3 yrs later...

Sent by Gina Black | 2:52 PM | 2-14-2008

Truly, Madly, Deeply by Savage Garden;
Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers; Last Date by Floyd Cramer; Dream by the Everly Brothers; At Last by Etta James; I Need Your Lovin by Johnny Rivers; Ravel's Bolero

Sent by Joni Davis | 2:52 PM | 2-14-2008

Big 10" Record - Aerosmith

Sent by Robert B | 2:54 PM | 2-14-2008

The mix tapes I've done usually work best simply because they aren't only generic love songs but they are also songs of our lives together and they aren't always the typical songs you'd associate with love. So for instance, the first song we heard when we went on our first date (which most of the time has absolutely nothing to do with love) or a song that touches on a very trying moment within our relationship (where it might have seemed like it would be over). The important thing however, is that it ends with THE essential song that says - "it's been more than worth it and I can't wait for the rest of our life."

Sent by James Downing | 2:59 PM | 2-14-2008

Brook Benton
"Thank you Pretty Baby"

Sent by oak | 3:45 PM | 2-14-2008

There is another mix web site: As with most of these types of sites there are a bunch of ok mixes, but there are also some pretty amazing compilations. My last valentine's mix:
You can't go wrong with Al Green...

Sent by John M. | 3:54 PM | 2-14-2008

I'll Be There, Got to There, and other Michael Jackson songs....

Sent by Laura | 4:11 PM | 2-14-2008

"I said lady, step inside my hyundai..." -Debra by Beck

Sent by SMK | 3:02 PM | 2-16-2008

I enjoy the music I hear between segments of Talk of the Nation.
Is the trumpeter Ron Miles, by any chance?

Sent by Lou McElroy | 10:21 AM | 2-18-2008

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