Without This Little Innovation, Music Fans Would Still Be Confined To Their Rooms
Those things were, or I should say "are" considering I still use them occasionally, a pain to get opened. Once you did manage to peel off that tightly-bound plastic coating, however, those products provided endless hours of enjoyment.
Cassette tapes could record your favorite songs from the radio or records, and you could also listen while traveling to school or your friend's house. They were also compact enough to be carried in your pockets, so there was very little not to like about the now-forgotten format.
We owe that hugely influential innovation to Lou Ottens, who passed away March 10, 2021. Among those who paid tribute to Otten was filmmaker Zack Taylor, who had made a documentary about the cassette.
"Cassettes taught us how to use our voice, even when the message came from someone else's songs, compiled painstakingly on a mixtape," Taylor told National Public Radio, remarking about how little things have changed. "So next time you make that perfect playlist on Spotify or send a link to share a song, you can thank Lou Ottens."
As we remember this man and his great contribution to music fans, listen to these ten songs which refer to his invention in their titles.
1. Tape From California by Phil Ochs
Even though he set aside his acoustic guitar, the folk singer remained adamant about his anti-war stance on this title track and the rest of the album.
2. Tape Deck by Jack Johnson
Its title of From Here To Now To You is a little complex, but it is much easier to unravel than one of those old cassette cartridges that got twisted in the spools.
3. Red Tape by Circle Jerks
These pioneers of punk flexed their sound on the debut record Group Sex, which is easy to access in spite of the title of this song.
4. Advanced Cassette by Spoon
Closing out the record A Series of Sneaks is this must-hear, introducing the unique indie rock approach of Brit Daniel and his Austin band.
5. Warm Tape by Red Hot Chili Peppers
By The Way, these three words comprise the title of the Peppers' eighth album, highlighted by this single and its follow up called “Tear.”
6. Rainwater Cassette Exchange by Deerhunter
An EP by the indie rock outfit is where you will find this title track, which you may well want to copy onto a tape.
7. Tapes by Alanis Morrissette
So-Called Chaos offered fans singles like “Underneath” and “In Praise of the Vulnerable Man” along with this non-charting gem.
8. Basement Tapes by Semisonic
“Closing Time” opened many doors for Dan Wilson's group, whose catalog also contains underrated tracks like this one and “Brand New Baby.”
9. New Love Cassette by Angel Olsen
This cut stands out on the All Mirrors album not just because of its aural ambiance, but also because all of the others are single word titles.
10. Rewind the Tape by Adept
Five years back the Swedish rockers offered this advice on their fourth album, Sleepless.