December 10, 2005

I miss mix tapes

So I have been recently moving my belongings to a non-wet location and I have come across all of my absolutely fabulous mix tapes from my teen years. They are varied. They are marvelous.

I really liked (and miss) the physical process of making mix tapes…pressing play on one deck and record on the other, it felt more like a craft than just dragging, dropping, and burning. I’d pull songs off the radio sometimes so there was like “KSJO…BALL-BUSTING ROCK ‘N’ RO-” at the end before I managed to hit “stop.” It was great. Plus, I liked the artistic license contained in Side 1/Side 2. You could do two totally different things musically and yet have them under the banner of one mix tape.

Am I a geek? I think so.


“Singing In My Sleep,” Semisonic (mp3)
A pop song about a mix tape, and listening to it over and over, even while you sleep. My revelation when I figured out what this song was about was wonderful. I thought to myself, “That is the best item ever to include on a mix for someone.”

“Mix Tape = Love,” The Tah Dahs (mp3)
Another cutesy song about the process of mixing for those you love (slash lust over) containing the hilarious line, “This song doesn’t fit but I want to use it – I’ll show you I am well-rounded.

Art Of The Mix (website)
For other dorks in search of TPM (the perfect mix), this is a giant catalogue where you can post what you’ve done and why, and see what other songsters are stitching together. Not cassette tape-specific, it is all-inclusive to CDs and iPod playlists and probably even 8-tracks (what?).

Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture (book)
(MLA format is italicize book titles? underline? dangit.)
And finally, Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth has edited a new book about cassettes which looks to be right up my alley. It is on my Froogle wishlist for this year.

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  • The hardest part of making a mix tape was arranging the tracks so you didn’t leave too much empty tape on one side or go over.

    Kevin — December 12, 2005 @ 3:33 pm

  • The song links are dead now, sob – would you mind sending me them dear? I haven’t heard that Semisonic song in years – it’s ace and I’d love to have it again. I don’t know what I did with that album… xo

    lism: yr new number one fan — April 22, 2006 @ 11:53 am

  • I see FRANCIS DUNNERY on that…

    SINEDDIE — April 22, 2007 @ 10:55 am

  • I miss mixed tapes almost as much as I miss handwritten letters.

    Dach — April 29, 2007 @ 9:11 pm

  • I got a handwritten letter from a friend in France a few months ago and it made my….year thus far. You are correct, dach.

    heather — April 30, 2007 @ 6:38 am

  • The toughest part of creating a mix tape was making the ending tracks of each side somehow lead into the first tracks of the other side, so that the tape could be played in a car or player that flipped side to side continuously. AND to maximize the space on each side so that the tape never seemed to end. I’ve got a ridiculous number of these tapes that will probably never get listened to ever again. I would sure like some of that time back. -Jeff C-in-the-H

    Our Beloved Composer — July 27, 2007 @ 10:27 pm

  • ahh, i miss mix tapes, too. my older brother and i used to sit in the living room by my parents’ tape deck, every cassette and CD we owned spread around us. i remember adding up the exact time to each song to make sure a song wouldn’t get cut off halfway through. my all time favourite mix is from ’96, too. the teenager in me absolutely loved that Mix ’96 rhymed.
    oh, those were the days. mix CDs come and go but the blood, sweat, tears that went into mix tapes made them all treasures!

    Katrina Lao Shaffner — September 8, 2007 @ 5:37 am

  • Hi,
    Just came across your website and even though I just had a short quick look at it so far, it looks great! I’ll certianly come back to it.

    NB There’s a book out by a Rolling Stone journalist called Rob Sheffield: “Love is a mixtape”.

    I just read it and can highly recommend it. It tells the story of him and his deceased wife using mixtapes they made together. Really moving. More info at:

    Thanks for the blogging and I’ll be around

    mikkie — October 14, 2007 @ 12:44 pm

  • Hi Mikkie! Thanks for the comment. I wrote about Love Is A Mix Tape here, and you’re right, I did love it.

    heather — October 14, 2007 @ 1:38 pm

  • Mixed tapes… Love/Hate. Yes, they were fun, but all the while I was waiting for the day when you could fit 500 albums on a chip the size of your fingernail…

    I must have made about 20-30 mix tapes for my (now) wife of 8 years when we were in college in 96-97. Fun to think about, but I agree with the other comment. I don’t necessarily miss them much.

    Anyone else love the movie “High Fidelity” with John Cusack? That’s probably a MUST see for mix tape lovers.

    eradicatore — November 19, 2007 @ 9:38 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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