The Urban Dictionary definition of a mixtape is as follows:
Mixtape A homemade music compilation (usually on a cassette tape or a CD-R) containing all your favorite tracks. Often you give such a compiation to the guy or gal of your fancy in hopes that it will win their heart.
Over the years I have had the fine pleasure of being the recipient and the giver of many a mixtape. Some of the best gifts I have ever received have been mixtapes (which as I aged, were actually on CDs). There really may be no better gift to give. When presenting a mixtape to someone, you are sharing an intimate part of you. In making a melodic flow of poetry for your recipients ears to feast on, you are creating a piece of art. A mixtape is very personal.
A mixtape also, is as much selfish as it is selfless. Maybe your mixtape recipient can't stand Mungo Jerry (which you didn't know) but you couldn't think of a better song to start your "Summertime Mix." Maybe they told you over and over that they hate Talking Heads but you decided that if they only heard the (Naive Melody) version of "This Must Be The Place" that they would retract every bad thing they've ever said. Or maybe when you passively put Fruit Bats on your B-side, it was your way of saying "Stupid, I've loved you all these years don't you fucking get it yet?" Mixtapes are completely narcissistic.
I've come to love (one might even say obsessed over) a number of songs that were introduced to me thru gifted mixtapes. The most memorable being "Bride And Groom Hot Air Balloon," by Hop Along, Queen Anselis (a wonderful and heartbreaking song which to me, speaks of a dying relationship), "If She Could Cry" by Miracle Legion one of the great Mark Mulcahy's many projects, and the ever so groovy "Mama Roux" by Dr. John-which if anyone has any idea what this song is about, I'm dying to know (I have a few ideas).
There are a couple of songs I can't help but include when I am making a mix for someone. I'm pretty sure "Hey" has been a frequent guest on mixtapes I've created as well as "Check The Rhyme," "Bragging Party," and "Books about UFO's." I think I just dated myself here. I also love and have included many times over Steve Martin and Bernadette Peter's sweet duet from the film "The Jerk." Every time I hear it, I can see the scene play in my head and I smile at the part where she pulls out the trumpet at the end.
If you are interested in learning more about mixtapes pick up the wonderful Thurson Moore edited "Mix Tape: The Art Of Cassette Culture." If you are curious about the hip hop compilation side of things-which I did not touch on, check out this MTV produced site. And of course read Nick Hornby's "High Fidelity," where the ins and outs of mixtape creation are discussed at length. If you don't read books (which makes me sad to think) watch the film adaptation starring the likeable John Cusack.
All of the wonderful mixtape related items you see here are available for purchase on etsy. Thank you esty sellers for the use of your lovely photographs.