Saturday, March 10, 2012
Do you remember the glorious days of the mix tape? I hope you are old enough to have experienced the joy that fills one's heart when someone hands you a mix tape made especially for you. Making a mix tape is truly a lost art. I remember the painstaking process of choosing just the right songs. There had to be a perfect amount of variety-- not too many songs from one band, but a healthy balance of music across the board. The songs then had to be cued up to just the right spot in one tape deck while the blank tape sat waiting in the other tape deck. Then came the tricky part-- pushing play with one hand and record with the other. If this was not done simultaneously, you had to start over. It was a rule. Of course you couldn't stray too far while the song was playing because you had to press stop as soon as it was over. Then there was the whole problem of dead space at the end of a tape side. You didn't want to cut a song short, but you didn't want a bunch of silence either. You had to find just the right short song to fill the gap, timing was key. And depending on the songs and who the tape was for, you had to make the decision to fill a 30, 60 or 90 minute tape! Oh the decisions. But when the tape was finished and the songs/artists carefully written on the paper cover, it was a glorious thing of beauty.
I remember having a few favorite mix tapes throughout the years. They either stayed in my car or the stereo in my room until they wore out--literally. I remember mourning the loss of one tape that got "eaten" by a finicky stereo. It was a sad day. Mike gave me a mix tape shortly after we started dating. Yes, when we started dating I still had a tape player in my car. I was super cool. I listened to that tape over and over. I remember that it had songs from Buffalo Tom, Mephiskapheles, The Cure, and The Breeders. That tape got a lot of play as I drove back and forth between Oklahoma City and Shawnee.
As tapes were eventually phased out by CD's, the art of making a mix tape died a slow and painful death. Mix CD's were (are) still great, but there is just something about the hard work that goes into making a mix tape. Did you listen to mix tapes? What were some of your favorite songs to listen to?