The art – and make no mistake about it, it is an art – of making a mix tape is one lost on a generation that only has to drag and drop to complete a mix. There’s no love or passion involved in moving digital songs from one folder to another. Those “mixes” are just playlists held prison inside a device. There’s no blood, sweat and tears involved in making them.
When the mix was completed, you’d sit back and admire your handiwork. You’d play it a couple of times, making sure the theme stayed intact, the segues were perfect, the message came through loud and clear. Then you’d painstakingly write the track list on the card provided with the cassette, squeezing in the long titles, making sure you got the artist’s name spelled right, obsessively checking over and over again that the track listing was correct. The next two hours would consist of you sitting on your bedroom floor staring at the tape while you tried to come up with a brilliant title, one that at once spoke of both the awesome music contained in the cassette and the feeling you were trying to convey. It didn’t matter if the cassette was a subtle gift to a would-be lover, an offering of empathy to a newly single friend or a morose reminder to yourself of the dark abyss that was your life – you had to have the right title.
Does anyone put such loving, tender care into making a iTunes playlist?