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The Mixtape: A Dying Art

Today we acknowledge the dying art of the mixtape.


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The tradition began in the early days when music was great and our technological ways were advancing. The mixtape was invented as a way to express our feelings to one another: if you had feelings for that special gal or guy, you got out your tape recorder, thought of the greatest love songs you could, and then let the music explain what your words couldn’t. It was a very romantic gesture; one would swoon at the words “I made a mixtape for you.”

Alternatively: if you wanted to break up with your boy/girlfriend, you could give him/her a mixtape with a plethora of different songs telling him/her how terrible of a person he/she is.

These well-thought out mixtapes often came with homemade covers and even tracklists that would detail why the song was relevant to what you felt about your special guy/girl. The mixtape was a beautiful art form that was ideal for describing our feelings for one another in a way that was more eloquent than telling it with our mouths.

As time went on and technology advanced even more, the form of a mixtape changed, becoming a mix CD rather than a tape. This came with some benefits: transferring your music was much easier; no more recording and rerecording over and over to get the timing right. Now it’s just one and done. In many ways this could make making a mixtape seem easier, but does it really? Think about it: making it is done much faster. Within seconds, you have a 3-or-so minutes song on a CD. You don’t have to sit with the tape recorder, making sure the timing is perfect and that there is no background noise when recording a song. In a way, there is almost less thought and even less effort going into making mixtapes today.

Furthermore, mp3 players and online streaming websites limit this art form even more. Sure, we can share playlists with one another in an instant, but this gesture seems much less sentimental than making something physical and something you put a lot of work into making for someone.

While people still today may, on occasion, make mix CDs for each other, the art of making a mixtape is a dying one. But, when done properly and with just enough thought and effort put into it, you can still make a mix CD just as great as our predecessors.

So, if you want to make a rather personal gift for someone, why not make a mix CD? Don’t let this beautiful art form die off.

-Sonia

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