Back in the analog pre-Internets days it’s hard to overstate how important mixtapes were.
Whether they were for your friends in order to introduce them to new music or for long drives on lazy summer days, or (infinitely more importantly) whether they were to try to impress that One Special Girl to whom you had So Much To Tell but was afraid to speak to, mixtapes were a labor of love 45 minutes to a side.
They took a while to make because you were dubbing in real-time (hi-speed dubbing cut down on the cassette tape audio quality which seemed so important at the time) which gave you time to think about both the songs and the person for whom you were making it (did I mention that One Special Girl?) and of course there was the cramped writing that you had to do on the cassette insert in block cap letters. It was desperately important that the lettering be in block cap letters for reasons that now escape me.
When CDs supplanted mixtapes the idea was still the same, although the process was much faster because you were just burning a playlist to disk. They seemed more disposable and less a labor of love but they were still fun.
Before streaming services the idea had sort of gone out of style unless you wanted to e-mail a bunch of files to accompany a playlist or were a rapper “poppin’ the trunk” but now that streaming services are common I think it’s time to resurrect the mixtape for the streaming age.
Several “One Special Girls” have come and gone, but the fun of making mixtapes remains. They may be just Spotify playlists now, but to me they’ll always be mixtapes. Here’s one for March 2015 with mostly recent stuff. Throw it in a playlist in Spotify and see what you think. Enjoy!
1. Public Service Broadcasting – Gagarin
2. Simple Minds – Let The Day Begin
3. Toad The Wet Sprocket – New Constellation
4. James Bay – Hold Back The River
5. Death Cab For Cutie – Black Sun
6. Houndmouth – Sedona
7. Modest Mouse – Lampshades On Fire
8. Florence & The Machine – What Kind Of Man
9. Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness – Cecilia And The Satellite
10. Catfish & The Bottlemen – Kathleen
11. Shakey Graves – Dearly Departed
12. Alabama Shakes – Don’t Wanna Fight
13. D’Angelo – Sugah Daddy
And the beauty of the streaming ‘mixtape’ is that you don’t have the task of trying to pick songs that total exactly 45 mins, to avoid having a big gap at the end of side 1, or worse, a song cutting off before the end.
Here’s a link to the suggested mixtape on Spotify:
The only thing I miss about a traditional mixtape – soft eject 😀