Mixtape © David Perezcassar, 2014
I grew up with a lot of embarrassing tapes. But by the time I reached that tender age where we stop playing with each other nicely and start competing in the emotional battleground of dating- those janky marvels of compression were outdated.
CD-R’s, those ugly, disposable, and outdated-from-birth trinkets never carried the same weight in my mind. I’ve given a couple cringeworthy ones here and there and have a few on my bookshelf that I’ll never listen to and never throw out.
But I’ve always felt a disconnect between the idea of a mixtape and the reality.
As opposed to beacons of admiration- the damn things have always been a bad omen- a sign things weren’t working out. There aren’t that many great pop songs about how awesome someone is. They were always half-hearted apologies or sad goodbyes. It’s so much easier to complain than it is to tell someone how great they are.
But anyone who’s ever made a mix for someone they cared about will tell you that it’s a monolith of a task- that takes an absurd amount of time, thought, and admiration for another person. It’s silly to me that emotions can be so complex- that we have to spend hours muddling other people’s words into a digestible listening experience to simply tell someone something.
But the best thing about mix tapes- is that no one cares that you used some rare Japanese b-side. It’s either listenable or it isn’t. Considering the difficulty of finding a positive song that doesn’t suck- one’s time might be better spent finding that track that tells someone they fucking rule- instead of wasting time tracking down a cassette-only demo that only exists on the black market.
Take the time to tell people you care about them. It’s worth it.
And for fuck’s sake- lay off the Smiths. You’re an adult.