Thursday, November 1, 2012

Mixtapes = Love

I'll have to ask my son if kids still do this for each other, albeit in the form of mix-playlists or -CDs or whatever, but from what I've seen of today's teen pop culture, it kind of seems like a lost art. One of my good friends (who shall remain nameless, just in case there are proprietary issues involved--but don't worry, Metallica, your songs have not and will never be included) makes these awesome mix-CDs as party favors. Digging into the ether to seek out up-and-coming indie bands is one of her hobbies, so it makes sense that her compilations would be amazing, but it got me thinking about days of yore and what motivated me and others to gift each other with mixes.

Once in awhile, a gracious friend would record the albums for you she knew you couldn't afford but wanted, smashing them together as economically as possible on a single device. Or sometimes it'd be motivated by a genuine desire to share the music she loved, possibly in hopes of turning you on to a band, too, so you could go to one of their shows together. More often, though, the music-mix vehicle wasn't quite as simple or friendly--it involved wanting to hook up with someone, but not in a superficial, here-today-onto-someone-else-tomorrow sort of way. Because a mixtape/CD/playlist takes time to compile, as well as careful consideration of the songs to be included and their lyrics, it conveyed a deeper message. A message about who the giver was and what kind of part s/he wanted the recipient to play in his/her life. A message that said, You matter to me, and I need you to know how much.

Of course, therein lies the paradox of the custom-made mix: although exhilarating to receive when a relationship is new and fresh, it winds up being devastating to listen to after a breakup.

So what do you think? Do people still make mixes for each other or am I being a relic for even mentioning them?

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