a tribute to cassette tapes

I’ve seen those LPs (long playing record, or vinyl records) that my mother would play in our turntable.  Through her, I learned about the songs of the Carpenters, Paul Anka, and some Hawaiian and country music, and ‘80s tunes inside our home.  So as a child with impressionable mind, what my parent liked I also liked as well.  She was my first teacher in music education. She collected LPs and cassette tapes which delighted me as a young girl.

I’ve also heard those loud sounds that my artist brother played after coming from school and I got acquainted with his taste in music which comprised of Def Leppard, Pearl Jam, Motley Crue, etcetera. As a teenager still seeking her own identity, the noises I heard, the loud drumbeats, the screeching of the guitars, the part-howl, part-growl singing of the vocalist, they were all music to my ear.

I’ve also heard those catchy and melodic songs of the Beatles courtesy of my other brother who returned home after living with our grandfather for several years.  He could mimic the mannerisms of every Beatles member who are John, Paul, George, and Ringo.  The way he talked about them made me like them as well.  In fact, I became a huge fan of them.  I still have this Beatles songhits containing all the songs of the Beatles.  A collector’s item. Priceless.

I’ve also heard those upbeat and disco sound from my sister’s cassette tapes.  She liked New Wave so I liked that as well.

It was in high school, when I was 15, when I started collecting cassette tapes and listening to my own kind of music, my own stuff after being exposed to my older family members’ musical preferences.  So my taste in music is basically just a combination of all their likes but with my personal touch.  Because the loud music that my artist brother listened to, I diverted more into that.

Rock music was just so different.  It could penetrate me, soothe me like no other. Whenever I listened to it, I get some kind of release, I felt free.  I’d like to think that my strong liking to rock music was attributed to my being quiet and well-behaved.  Rock music was my antidote.  So in college, even if I only had limited allowance, I would buy cassette tapes because I love music!  I had a great appreciation with not just rock but with other genres as well, and I still have that same appreciation but with less intensity now that I am older.  I remember eating just egg sandwich (which was only P6) or if I got tired of it, a footlong sandwich  for days just so I could save money and buy an album of not just my favorite artists but also of other artists that my older family members haven’t heard before.

This is my remaining cassette tape collection (I’ve sold the others in 2004 for P50 each with a goal to discard all my cassette tapes and buy CDs instead which included The Beatles Anthology which I now regret).  I am now keeping them safe in a box in case of emergency.  And I now look at them with so much sentimentality.   Sure it had many inconveniences as compared to CDs but they were very affordable which made music more accessible to poor people like me.  If I’m not mistaken, there was no piracy during the period of cassette tapes.

In this box, if you dig deeper, you will find albums by Cynthia Alexander, The Jerks, Jose Mari Chan, Joey Ayala, Fatal Posporos, Jessica Zafra, Eraserheads, Yano, and record tapes of songs that I personally compiled (read: while kneeling in front of the TV or radio, holding a recorder near its speaker, and praying that my companions at home would remain quiet) from Sesame Street or from a live concert of my favorite bands.

Incidentally, I just learned today from newsfeed that two days ago (September 13) marked the 50th anniversary of cassette tapes.  Children today may no longer be familiar or got no clue about the significance of cassette tapes, but to my generation who grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s (and still growing up), cassette tapes are dead but its memory lives on.

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