Remember the mixed tapes of the 70’s and 80’s? We’d put together an eclectic collection of music, sending our crush a message of undying love with the crazy and mix-matched sounds of our teen-aged angst? I guess the iPod and iTunes revolutionized that idea, but for me those old cassettes are a symbol of a commitment to expression that is unrivaled by today’s technology.
All we have to do today is drag a song from one list to another. Voila: done. If you want, you can even re-arrange the order or set it on shuffle and get a random order. It even lets you select the songs individually and oh my goodness! set it on repeat.
Not the mixed tape.
The mixed tape required a level of preparation and planning that was a real investment in blood, sweat, and tears (the metaphor for sacrifice, not the musical group). First, we had to decide what songs we wanted, analyze the subtle (or not so subtle) message, and then put them in order so that it accomplished two very important things:
First, it had to be an unmistakeable declaration of undying love.
Second, it had to have an out, in the last or penultimate song, so that we could save face in case our crush of the moment thought we were creepy. This last one was difficult because if placed incorrectly in the order, the whole communication would fail and we would be in worse shape than before.
Then, the real work would begin. The lucky ones, like me, had a combination record player/tape deck stereo so we could record songs off albums or the radio. In those days, a 45 cost $0.97, not bad when compared to today’s $0.99? Wrong, remember a buck was worth a lot more 35 years ago. (oh my, did I just write that number?)
Instead of buying the records, we’d record them off the radio. That took incredible skill and patience because you know those deejees spoke right through the first few measures of a song, probably to foil all the recording that was going on. It took real work to get those puppies finished. Hours of work, to be honest. So to give the gift of a mixed tape was something meaningful. Something profound. A permanent testament to an undying love [until you ran out of cassettes and recorded over someone else’s gift to you].
So, without further ado, here is a mixed tape, 21st century-style, for you. 🙂
[see if you get Rick-rolled somewhere in there]