As a middle school student in the early nineties, my entire music life was determined by the radio. As a young kid with no money, the radio was the only way to hear new music, or music of any kind (unless you count my mother’s Rod Stewart and Bryan Adams tapes). I had a gargantuan tape deck that took up half the dresser in my bedroom. When I discovered I could record from the radio, it changed my life. I could finally make my own mix tapes with all of the songs I wanted to hear! I’d set the tape to record, then press the pause button. As soon as I heard the first few beats of a song I liked, I’d spring from my bed and slam down the pause button so it would release. The result was a choppy mash-up of alternative and R&B, interspersed with a few lines of cheesy DJ narration thanks to my faulty editing.
We’re light years ahead of that now. Last weekend, I was listening to NPR on the way to church. I love the short snippets of music they play to transition between stories. I heard a song that I loved immediately, but I was driving, so I couldn’t get Google to tell me what it was. Later this week, I had a few hours of mind-numbing, repetitive work to finish. I just got on NPR’s website, pulled up the show playlist, and found the exact track. I hopped on Spotify, and listened to four of the artist’s albums while I powered through my work. No waiting for days with my tape on pause for the track to come back on the radio. No cassette tape. No DJ interloping on my mix tape. Isn’t the future wonderful?
The track? Soul Miner, by Tommy Guerrero.