My Love of Mixtapes

Growing up I used to adore the radio because it would provide me otherwise unattainable access to each song that I loved. I’d painfully wait until it played again just so I could relive the magic of that inner joy when the chorus would hit its crescendo before it would all taken away after the three-four minute song would end. Then, I would have to wait to hear it again for what could be an hour, but felt like a day.


That is, until I was introduced to the wonders of the cassette tape. With my new tool firmly in hand, I would sit by the radio with a more cautioned ear, patiently waiting for the song of the month, (the one I couldn’t stop singing), to play. As soon as I heard the first few notes, I clicked the red dot on my cassette player and it was recording. This was my first taste in the art of mixtapes.

In my pre teen years, when I would crush hardcore on a girl at school, I’d make a mixtape of the love songs that would “speak to me” and remind myself of the girl in question. I did become a tad obsessed with the pomp and circumstance of it all and naturally, my Writer’s Mind would drift off into narrative deviations.


Soon after these years, I was lucky enough to get my first computer and the “CD mix” was born. Some of my best work was in this era. I would tailor a mix for moods, my current favs, or a particular genre. My best title that I had ever created was for a mix of heavy metal and rock dubbed “Scrap Metal.” I suppose it would have been more apt if it were comprised of Lamb of God and Cannibal Corpses, but that was not my cup of tea then.

I even went as far as creating mixes based off of a certain track, looking for patterns. For example, I would take my favorite CDs and burn a mix with only the fourth song of each and surprisingly enough, a lot of singles appeared on track four of their respective albums.

Video games were a huge part of my life growing up so naturally one of my favorite mixes in the CD era was when I took my favorite songs from each of the extreme sports games like Tony Hawk, Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX, 1080 Snowboarding Avalanche, Grind Session, and more and made a Video Game Soundrack’s Soundtrack.

The Digital Age

I was a late bloomer in my CD & PC usage, and so too for when I received my first iPod: 2010. Here’s where things took the greatest evolutionary leap forward: iTunes and Shazam.

Now until the Shazam app, it was near impossible to determine the name of a song or band unless you had a music snob or Yahoo search to tell you otherwise.

The iPod era of playlists did leave a little to be desired, perhaps in the afterglow of an extended period of CD mixes. It was easier than ever to create a “mix,” but simultaneously meant that it wasn’t as special.

One of the better ideas I had devised in playlists was to recreate the setlist of a band’s concert in which I had attended. Track by track, in order, I could “relive” the Little Dragon concert that I loved.

And then when I began to write scripts, my playlists were catered to each individual tone I was trying to convey. Of course, most of the songs were instrumentals or soothing songs, which allowed me to hone my focus.

My iPod ran into some issues and as a result, my playlists were wiped from existence. That is the downside of the digital age, you are left without a physical copy for reference. Although a digital playlist can encompass your entire library if you wish, so a physical copy would be an entire spindle of blank CDs.

One of my new favorite playlists has its roots in the CD era, and that is now called “The Ones.” This list is a collection of all of my favorite songs at that moment.

Some of my other favorites of the past few years:

Electronic Technica

iPod Fuck You (When my iPod shit the bed)

LCD LP (All of the LCD Soundsystem I had)

Electro Dance Party

Pump Me Up

Rock My Way

Sci-Fi Soundtrack

Into the Storm (Music that is a blast to play in a downpour or blizzard)

Sadly with getting a new phone twice in the past year, my playlists have been reset. I’m able to come up with new ones, however, this time each one can represent some new metric, some new twist on the tried and true legacy that mixtapes began all of those years ago.

What sort of playlists have you made in your day? I’d love to hear about them.



Jamie loves specific music and therefore doesn’t find much for new music to groove on. Reference this and tell him similar bands that he may enjoy in the comments below.

Follow him on Twitter @GuyOnAWire and here on this blog.

One thought on “My Love of Mixtapes

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