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34 Things You Miss About Mixtapes

Memorex…light the corners of my mind.

1. Every tape you made or received was one of a kind.

2. Especially the tapes you made for your crushes.

3. And the tapes your crushes made for you.

4. Playing it cool when someone gave you a tape…

5. …but totally freaking out over it while listening to it alone in your bedroom. Someone made a tape just for you, and it was awesome!

6. Figuring out exactly where to put The Song That Says Exactly How You Feel on a crush tape.

7. Using tapes to either begin or end relationships, and being ultra-sentimental and maudlin about it.

8. Making your tape as eclectic as possible to give the impression that you were some kind of all-knowing music genius.

Also, rare B sides and non-album tracks were always mixtape gold because they showed you had a deep knowledge of an artist’s body of work.

9. Choosing whether you wanted to make your mix 60, 90, or 120 minutes long. There is an art to using each of them!

 

60s were good for single-artist “greatest hits” mixes, 120s were the best for car-trip tapes, and 90s were perfect for just about anything.

10. Setting aside a few hours to record the tape in real time, and imagining how someone would react to every song choice.

11. Being so meticulous about your mix craft that you’d be willing to go back and re-do half a side if the tape cut out before the last song ended.

12. The fine art of making tapes specifically for road trips.

13. Taping songs off the radio.

14. Editing tape in real time by learning how to hit the buttons at exactly the right moment.

15. The magic of high-speed dub, and discovering that there are songs that somehow sound a little better at that speed.

16. Making theme tapes.

Art and writing by Glyn Dillon from his book The Nao of Brown / Via amazon.com

17. Learning how to correctly estimate how much time you have left on a side just by eyeballing the reels.

18. Keeping a mental catalog of one- and two-minute songs to fill up time so you don’t have any dead air at the end of a side.

 

If you were an indie/punk rock kid, these bands had your back.

19. Getting ambitious and creative with your tape by adding random radio noise, comedy bits, movie dialogue, or your own “DJ” banter between songs.

20. Coming up with arbitrary rules like “you can’t repeat an artist on a mix.”

A lot of people will instinctively cringe looking at this tape simply because it includes TWO songs by The Rolling Stones.

21. Breaking out the markers to make some custom packaging.

22. Getting inventive with your handwriting on the cover.

23. Coming up with a cool name for your mix.

24. Decorating the cassette itself.

25. Collecting stuff from magazines to make collages for tape art.

26. Making your tape covers into weird inside jokes that will only make sense for the recipient.

27. Making a list of songs you wanted to put on your mix before you made it.

28. Making a time capsule of all the songs you loved the most at a specific moment in your life…

29. …and then looking back on a tape a few years later and feeling a little bit confused by your choices.

30. Taping over commercial cassettes you don’t want anymore by putting a bit of Scotch tape over the top tabs.

31. Sending tapes in the mail, and decorating the envelope.

 

32. Hoping to meet the perfect person to trade mixes with.

33. Always listening to the entire tape, because rewinding and fast-forwarding through it would be a pain in the ass.

34. The way you can look at any old tape and remember exactly when you made it, or who made it for you, and when and where you listened to it.

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