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.
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.
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.