You can drape a girl in diamonds; ply her with chocolate; and shower her with dozens of red roses. Truth be told, you can do it all; but deep down, even if she never admits it to herself, the most sentimental way to win her heart is via a mix tape.
By: Erika – Café Fashionista
By: Erika – Café Fashionista
Darlings, it pains me to think that you may be completely out of touch with this type of reality, so I’ll simply spell it out for you…the mix tape is the piece de resistance of presents. As Victor Hugo once said, “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent.” It is a scapegoat of sorts for allowing one to divulge their deepest feelings for another; to give an individual the chance to lay their heart on the line in a fashion unencumbered with stuttering or nervousness – just pure words flowing languidly from the stereo.
But I digress; one must be mindful of the fact that a mix tape is not merely a quick fix for the person who forgot to buy a friend or significant other a gift, nor is it a goodie given in place of something store bought. A mix tape is a small piece of someone’s heart. Whether created by a nostalgic sorority girl for her BFF; or a cute hipster boy wanting to leave a lasting impression on the girl he is currently wooing; a mix tape says it all. Hence the reason why creating one is oftentimes a difficult task.
Making the perfect mix is an art, a skill learned over years of practice. It is not something that can be put together overnight. It involves countless hours of planning, researching, and recounting magic moments that took place between you and the person in question. The nights spent falling asleep under the stars; the long periods of comfortable silences; the impromptu adventures. To put it bluntly, it is a soulful, symphonic scrapbook bringing good and bad times from mere minutes ago to years past to light.
This Valentine’s Day, forgo the chalky candy hearts, the flowers that will wilt away in a few days time, and the stuffed animals that will ultimately be re-gifted sometime down the road; and instead impress with a mix tape that will be cherished forever. Don’t worry dolls, I’ll help you along!
1) New Wave – In the age of technology, it is shocking to see a CD anymore, let alone a tape. Nevertheless, sending digital downloads of songs is a surefire way to ruin the effect of the mix tape. If you want to stay true to the roots of the mix, and you’re armed with the equipment required to work with a cassette, I suggest taking the time to put a tape together. If, however, you feel more comfortable working with a CD, go for it. A bit of the vintage vibe proffered by a genuine cassette is lost in translation; but it’s the music that counts.
2) Time After Time – The length of time that a mix tape runs varies for the creator, yet almost always sticks to the 30-minute interval rule, starting at 60-minutes and going through 120-minutes. In general, 90-minutes seems to be the favored mix tape length. It’s long enough to get your point across, without droning on with unnecessary inclusions.
3) Theme Team – It is impossible to so much as begin putting a mix tape together until you have decided upon the theme you are aiming for. Is it being created with a potential love interest in mind? Are you putting it together to commemorate a childhood friendship? Will it be given to someone attempting to heal a broken heart? Before you begin, it is essential that you have the answer to this question. Once the theme has been decided upon, you can move onto the hard part…creating a title!
4) The Name Game – I realize that you are devoting your time to selecting songs for your compilation, but an amazing title is a complete necessity for the perfect mix tape. Something labeled “Sappy” or “Love” is uninspired and makes the receiver feel as if very little thought has been put into the creation of this gem. Don’t allow your hard work to be overlooked due to a bad title! Wrack your brain for memorable experiences or covert inside jokes the two of you have shared – the best titles stem from these very places!
5) List Love – Kittens I truly hope that you are like me in the sense that you adore making lists, because you will be creating quite a few of them on your quest to perfecting your mix tape. Track listing is a crucial part of the mix. It involves choosing an assortment of songs, then weeding out the ones that fit the theme you are going for, and ending with deciding which tracks are the most compatible with one another. This step alone often involves numerous trials to ensure that you choose the best songs, but it is well worth it!
6) Number One – I cannot stress the importance of the first song on your mix. The first song sets the tone for the complete tape, and makes the listener decide whether or not it’s even worth listening to in its entirety. For this reason alone, never underestimate the power of the opening track. It is essential that you steer clear of songs that are too predictable, as it immediately enshrouds the entire tape in a cloak of boringness. At the same time, going the clichéd route makes one contemplate the seriousness of the mix. You want something that is faint yet fascinating; a song that will catch the listener’s ear and draw them in – therefore, choose wisely.
7) Metamorphosis – Too many get caught up in wanting miscellany within their mix which oftentimes results in disaster. As William Cowper said, “Variety is the very spice of life,” but if it doesn’t fit or flow correctly, it can be the ruination of your tape. Transitions between songs must be subtle. Moving from light indie to pop rock needs to be done gradually, allowing the tempo to rise slowly with each song to keep the tape from becoming detached. Leaping from genre to genre within your mix must be avoided at all costs; the songs must have a link to one another that makes everything flow perfectly, and creates a harmonious collection – otherwise the entire tape fails.
Darlings, like love; creating the perfect mix tape requires nurturing, patience, and a large dose of TLC. You may not get it right the first time, or the time after that; who knows, it could take you years to perfect your mix tape method. But just like amour, somehow, someway, when you least expect it, it will find you. And when it does, everything will fall into place; for, in the words of Rob Sheffield, “But the answer is simple. Love is a mix tape.” Until then…
Happy, Happy Valentine’s Day, my loves!