A while back I touched on mix tapes. This weekend we went to see Guardians Of The Galaxy 2, good fun film as was the first one. The music and mix tapes are a key part of the film and I got wondering what makes a good song for a tape, or playlist.
In High Fidelity Nick Hornby gives all sorts of rules for creating a tape,the only one I have ever followed is not to have two tracks from the same artist consecutively. Like many people I was making mix tapes and playlists long before the iPod and long before they were a fashion accessory. I just made them to listen to. Oddly many songs that make it onto a playlist aren't ones I would pick out as favourites. There needs to be a rhythm to a playlist, a flow that carries you through the songs. The Cinema (Curzon in Clevedon, visit it) played the first Awesome Mix CD before the new film and it struck me that following 'Fooled Around and Fell in Love' (pretty much the perfect mix tape song with Mickey Thomas' soaring vocal and a cracking guitar solo) with 10CC 'I'm Not in Love' broke up the flow so badly that even 'I Want You Back' one of those songs around the top end of happy, couldn't rescue it. Playlists do need a couple of harsh transitions between songs to make sure the listener is awake, 'Cherry Bomb' does that just fine on the Guardians Of The Galaxy CD, but that needs to reset the mood not stick out like a sore thumb.
Damn it I do have rules after all, and here are some more, Pop, Rock in all their forms go together, some country, you can add in most Soul or R&B, the mainstream end of Reggae perhaps, but Jazz, most Folk Music or anything Avant Garde are a step too far, especially if you expect to play it in the car with civilians present. If you are reading this I sort of take it for granted that the latest Rap & Techno probably aren't on heavy rotation on your iPod.
The second Guardians of the Galaxy CD is far more a soundtrack than a mix tape, the songs work well in the film but hang together far less well as an album. At the end of the new film Peter is given a Zune "with 300 songs on it!", which will make the soundtrack to the next film a doddle.