Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Reincarnation of the Mix Tape.

When I was younger and wanted to create a mix of various music, there wasn't a MacBook or iTunes to turn to. I used my trusty Sony boom box, which housed two cassettes - fancy, huh? I would either tape off of the radio, or from one tape to another. I would sit in front of my largesse sound system for hours (the bigger the better - kindof how we viewed our hair back then), listening to the radio, waiting for the perfect song to come along.

This was no easy feat, if you remember. Timing was everything. No mix tape was perfect, which made it special. Some songs were cut off by a millisecond, or there was a few mumblings from an overenthusiastic DJ. Sometimes radio jingles unapologetically interrupted the final seconds of a tune. Almost every tape I made had one song that was cut off halfway through, because that side ran out of tape. Regardless, when receiving a mix tape, these flaws did not matter. Making a mix tape was work, like baking a cake or sewing a skirt. Time consuming, but worth it for the final product (even if it did have a few screw-ups). I'm not the only person who will back up the importance of mix tapes and youth - read some of the works by Rob Sheffield and Chuck Klosterman.

The artwork was also an integral part of the finished product. Listing tracks on the insert that came with the tape was just as important. The choice of ink, style of handwriting, general artwork and title of the tape were all integral components. I once made a tape in middle school that I titled "Yo Tengo Espiderman in Mis Pantalones" - yes, that roughly translates to I have Spider-Man in my Pants. How I came up with that title is beyond me, but I was one of those children who marched to the beat of her own drum.

With that said, I no longer make mix tapes. Along with the rest of the population, I use iTunes to create a mix. Its made in a fraction of the time, and it can utilized on your computer, iPod, iPhone, iPad or whatever other iDevices you utilize.  Although, over the last few years, I barely even do that. With the constant upgrading of technology, I have only put about fifty albums on my new computer. The 1,000+ CDs at home have yet to be added, as it takes too much time. 

Now wait, you'd think that since I'm unemployed that I could complete such a task! Well, in all honesty, uploading them can be a tedious process and I am not going to sit at my computer any more than I do at the moment. Maybe in the summer I'll do something with them. Lately, I have turned to Spotify, which has millions of songs uploaded on their servers, for my musical enjoyment.

One of my most recent playlists is called her royal midgeness revisits her youth. Not to toot my own horn, but its a small, yet decent collection of various artists I grew up listening to. There are no Beatles/Beatles members songs available on here, but that just might be because I have the free version (unemployed people can't spend money on cool things like Spotify), but I have a feeling it has to do with licensing. Either way, I'm not complaining! Its like a never-ending digital mix tape. I can add songs to it when I feel like it, which is nice. You can make a plethora of playlists, which can be shared with friends. Enjoying a random individual's playlist? You can subscribe to it. Plus, its free. Free is always good, especially when its something useful. Check it out next time you're perusing the 'net.

Happy listening,

Photo Courtesy of Anthony Michael Forte


  1. IS this 'thee' short girl long island that is apearing at the Ale festival this weekend?

    1. I would love to be there this weekend, but since I'm currently unemployed, I can't afford such luxuries.