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Make Me A Mixtape

Promise Ring

“Make Me a Mixtape” – The Promise Ring
(Words/music: The Promise Ring, available on Electric Pink EP, Jade Tree 2000) 

Sometimes random shards of memory stick inside far longer than ever expected.  For instance, I remember years ago, probably in 2002, having an instant messenger conversation with my friend Dan that touched on the “perfection of Davey [vonBohlen] from the Promise Ring’s lisp.”  It was a passing point in a conversation long forgotten, but that single moment tucked away deep in my brain and resurfaces whenever the Promise Ring crosses my consciousness.  It’s the quickest way for me to identify a deep cut in their catalogue – I usually cue in on his voice before actively considering the song (or, sometimes the band itself).  In a way, it’s the Promise Ring’s beauty mark – a subtle, humanizing flaw that grows more charming with more time spent in its company. 

At times, it makes vonBohlen sound younger, particularly on “Make Me a Mixtape.”  Maybe I just associate the sentiment in this song with the time spent as a teenager on the floor of my bedroom with my boom box and stacks of records (and not to mention bands like the Promise Ring), but I imagine vonBohlen singing this song from a nostalgic place.  Considering the lyrics tonight for the first time in a long time, I’m struck at the similarities between my mixtape process and the one in this song.  I tend to think of a few songs or bands to serve as tent posts and then fill in the rest with things that work well around those.  I (almost) always accompanied these mixes, whether on tape or CD, with some kind of note or letter as well, generally opting for a track-by-track accompaniment (many of which read like a primitive form of these blog posts).  It makes me want to dig out the blank tapes in the back of my closet, gather a bunch of records, and over-think song transitions until dawn. 

More on The Promise Ring: Allmusic | Amazon MP3 | Emusic | Last.fm

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