I am of the generation when the mixtape meant something. It was an artform. To make the perfect mixtape meant you had to really think about what you wanted to say. Granted, the mixtape more often than not was designed to let someone of the opposite sex know how you felt about them (or at least in my case it did). You had to think about flow and message. You had to keep in mind that if you had "alot to say" you might need to get the 90 minute tape (45 minutes each side), or you might able to get away with an hour tape (30 minutes each side). Then you had to back time the tape. If a song was five minutes and change long you had to back time to figure out that you had less than 40 minutes left, that was about 8 songs, or so for that side. And then you had to make sure that you didn't have a whole lot of dead air/space at the end of a side. Some took care of the dead air/space by talking or reading a poem or something. I never did that, I always packed that tape full.
I used to make tapes for myself, not because I was lonely, or narcisistic, but I would take my Walkman with me where ever I went, much like my iPod now and it was a pain to take all my tapes with me. So, I would make these "to go" mix tapes. And then I'd give them interesting titles.
After I read my friends latest blog post, I went to my closet and dug around and found a box that has all my cd cases and a bunch of tapes (those that have survived various pogroms and holy wars and fits of decluttering) left over from my yonger days. I have been listening to one tape I made. I comes from my college days. It is quite an amalgamation of music tastes. The songs range from Pink Floyd, to Metallica, to Ministry, to Inxs, NIN, U2, to Seal (Seal! For crying out loud!) the Beatles (White Album), Bob Marley and the Wailers, to the Violent Femmes (the Violent Femmes were must for my generation of college student). The tape I'm listening to is titled Act II. I vaquely remember thinking that it was clever because it was a play on Achtung, an homage to U2's album Achtung Baby, which had some serious rotation in my tape deck/cd player in college. Actually, now that I think about it, these tapes were probably made from CD collection. I didn't have a portable cd player at the time, that came later.
Okay, I'm not sure why I have Harry's Circumcision by Lou Reed on here. Actually, the album it came from New York was very good, I haven't the foggiest idea why I got rid of it. I think it was kind of depressing... yeah, I'm sure that's it... this song is depressing as hell.
I just opened another mixtape case and pulled out the insert I made. Yeah, I even made inserts. I would cut out pictures from newspapers, tape them to blankpaper, and write something, and then photocopy it, fold it and tuck it in the tapecase. Here is what I wrote on the inside of a tape I called "your-mother-is-a-hampster-and-your-father-is-made-haddle-berries: the compilation album (part i)"-- obviously I was influenced to a degree by Monty Python. Well, any way here is what I wrote.
This taped compilation was recorded over a week's time. From January 2-Jan. 9, 1996.
The compositor acknowledges that he stole copyrighted material. He is proud of this fact and would do it again, in a heartbeat.
He would like to thank Zippy the Pinhead for guidance & the slug named Flash for inspiration.
He feels that without the guidance of Mitch the Bowling Ball or Pete the 30-30 Shotgun this project could never have been completed
It is important to note thatthe academic world in no way supports or condones what the compiler has done. He received no grants or stipends per diem to complete this task.
At this time he feels that he should tnak all artists and copy editors from whom he stole, but he prefers not to, so he won't. All he asks is that this be listened to in good faith.
I almost kind of want to go back and find out what the 23 year old me was thinking about.