The collection of short stories entitled Love & the Tsar of Techno by Anthony Mara are set up like a mixed tape. There is a Side A, Intermission and Side B. Some of the stories in the collection involve a mixed tape that several characters have at one point or another. The author even includes a playlist to go with the book.
A couple of years ago when driving back from a hike in my friends old car (it is from the last millennium and has a tape player/radio combination) he asked if I would mind listening to a tape. I said that it would be fun and that I hadn’t listened to a cassette tape in ages. We talked about how when we were in high school you would make mixed tapes for friends and/or that special person you had a crush on.
Recently when talking to another friend the subject of mixed tapes was the topic of conversation. Again we talked about being in high school and how you would spend your Sunday afternoons listening to American Top 40 with you tape player poised and ready to capture your favorite songs as they would play. My friend said that one time he listened to the radio for three nights in a row waiting to capture the song “The Final Countdown” by the band Europe.
A lot of thought and creativity would go into making mixed tapes. It had to have an audio flow. I still have several mixed tapes made by friends that are still great to listen to. Yes, I own a cassette tape player. If the tape you were making didn’t catch the listener, they wouldn’t listen to it.
Another friend of mine who is a musician bemoaned the advent of iTunes and other computer programs the “choose” music for the listener. He said that so often people choose a song without listening to anything else that the musician/band has produced. The sad thing is that the musician/band worked very hard to create an album that is an auditory novel. Take a moment to think about entire albums that you have listened to…. sure you may have a favorite song on that album… but it is the album as a whole that really makes the statement.
One of my friends recently confessed that he still makes mixed tapes. I think that is very cool. I am hoping he will make one for me.