There was a certain craft to mixing a tape. You had exactly 90 min. to fill, 45 min. on one side, 45 min. on the other. You had to pick the songs that you wanted on there – and that was it. No fooling around with a song that was just “eh”, it was the best of the best. Each song had personal meaning. You could time the transitions just right… it truly was an art. Even more thought went into mixing a tape for someone else – someone you had a crush on, or perhaps wanted to befriend through some sort of symphonic connection. Often times a tape might have taken up a whole evening because you had to wait to push record until that new song came on the radio. There was a happy sacrifice in creating the tape.
Then there was the CD, 80 minutes of the cleanest crispiest music you ever heard. It was easier and cheaper than a mixed tape. The art form was still there. Pick only the best songs at that time to jam to in your car; everything else has to go by the wayside. You could easily pick your songs, put them in the perfect order, and even burn a copy if you needed, though the heart and soul was poured into the first one upon creation.
You would memorize these creations, almost as if you had built a personal relationship with each and every song on there. Road trips became bearable because you had your tunes. You had enough to keep you happy, and if you needed to, you could always create another one.
Then the mp3 player came along and changed the way we looked at the world.
“You mean I can fit 12,000 songs in my pocket… that’s totally AWESOME!”
You started downloading meaningless songs, songs that you had no connection with, you became a music whore of sorts – you could never get enough. It seemed so great, so truly amazing. But you lost the art of the mix tape. A playlist isn’t confined to a time limit so you would find yourself skipping over songs that cluttered your player. Songs you had no personal connection with, or you just had because someone suggested the artist to you and you have their entire music collection – just in case someday you wanted to hear it.
What if the mix tape was a reflection of our personal relationships? Do you find yourself having 2,385 friends on a social media site, but you have only taken the time to learn 1% of those on a personal level? Would you appreciate a sympathetic frown face – 🙁 – when a close loved one had died… something that took a total of .5 seconds to type? Or would you rather be hugged by someone familiar? Having that close personal relationship with something is hard to get. You have to open your wounds to that individual, and they have to accept you for who you are. Just like you memorized the mixed tapes, you have to learn who your true friends are. Social media is great, but stay true to yourself, be picky about who you want to be friends with, who you want to connect with on a personal level. It takes time and heart to create a relationship. You only have so much time to work with on this earth, you never know when your symbolic 90 min. runs out. Don’t be an mp3 player and loose track of all your songs. Take time to make a personal connection today… maybe burn them a CD as a thank you for being your friend.
Can you even find quality tape players anymore…?