AMHERST, MAA mix tape made by Mandy Honig for boyfriend Jeff Kent in honor of the couple's one-year anniversary expresses the many subtleties of their long-term relationship, it was learned Monday.
According to Honig, 19, a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts, each song on the mix has a special significance, capturing a different aspect of their deep, multi-dimensional love.
"We're romantic together, but we can also be totally crazy and fun," Honig said. "And we're best friends. This mix reflects that amazing variety in our relationship."
Among the songs on the mix that capture the couple's romantic side: Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You," Sting's "Fields Of Gold" and, most of all, Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On."
"Jeff and I saw Titanic together, and I just cried through the entire thing–Jack and Rose reminded me so much of me and Jeff," Honig said. "When they played 'My Heart Will Go On,' at the end, I just completely lost it."
Honig said that "My Heart Will Go On" has taken on added significance in the past two weeks, as she and Kent have been separated due to UMass' spring break. "Jeff went back to [his parents' house in] St. Louis, and I stayed here in Amherst," she said. "Every time I hear the line, 'Near, far, wherever you are,' I just bawl thinking about how much I miss him."
Added Honig: "I love Jeff so much."
While a majority of the songs on the mix capture a particular aspect of Honig and Kent's multi-faceted relationship, some are reminders of special moments the two have shared.
"Last November, when Jeff's grandmother was in the hospital, he was really upset, and he called me, and we talked on the phone for like four hours," Honig said. "When we finally hung up at like 3 a.m., I turned on the radio and 'Wind Beneath My Wings' was playing. And I just thought to myself, that's exactly what we are to each other: We hold each other up."
In addition to song selection, the mix's song order was given careful consideration. Honig said that the ballad-heavy nature of side one of the mix, which does not feature back-to-back uptempo songs until midway through side two, was intentional.
"I did want to vary the tempo and get in some fun, fast ones, but it was very important to establish early on just how much I love Jeff," Honig said. "And I felt that the best way to do that was with slower songs like 'In Your Eyes' and 'Theme From Phantom Of The Opera.'"
"Jeff and I have only been together a year, but I feel like I've known him all my life," Honig added.
Despite the overall success of the mix, it did not come without its disappointments. Honig said she "really wanted" to include the song "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant," but at the last minute she discovered she'd left her Billy Joel's Greatest Hits CD at a friend's house. "I wanted to give it to Jeff the next day, which was our anniversary, so there was no time to run over to Kelli's and get it," she said.
"I also wanted that song 'Friends And Lovers,' but I totally couldn't remember who sings it," Honig added. "I even sang it for the guy at Sam Goody when I was at the mall, but he said he didn't know."
The most painful song omission of all, however, was "American Pie," which both Honig and Kent "totally love." While Honig very much wanted to include the 1972 Don McLean classic, she ultimately made the difficult decision to leave it off due to its length.
"I really wanted to include it, but I knew I could fit like three normal-length songs on instead of just that one," she said. "I was so bummed."
While Kent could not be reached for comment at his parents' home in St. Louis, he is reportedly thrilled with the mix. In addition to denying his sister's request for a copy of it, explaining that it is "just for me and Mandy," he has already punched out the tabs at the top of the cassette to prevent anything from ever being recorded over it.
"Jeff was so surprised when I gave it to him," Honig said. "He had no idea I was making it. He was really touched: He said it had more meaning than anything else I'd ever gotten him because I put so much of myself into it."
Honig said she is already planning a follow-up mix for Kent's birthday on April 4. "I cannot wait to start working on that next mix," she said. "I've got so much more I want to say to Jeff, and there are so many more songs with which to say it."