For all the convenience of an ipod or the sound quality of a CD, for some reason discs and playlists just don't have the same feel as a mix tape. Probably just nostalgia I guess. But there was something kind of satisfying about the way you could slam a tape into the car stereo, and you were away.
In my first car, the venerable Industrotank, the centre console spent its entire time filled with tapes. I didn't even have to take my eyes off the road. I could pull out the current tape; flip it into its case with one hand; move it to the back of the console; then flip out the tape at the front of the queue and slap it into the stereo.
You really can't do that with CDs. With CDs, sooner or later you have to look down. Not good. Ipod's ok so long as you don't mind the insanity of 60gigs + ecclectic taste + set to random.
Mix tapes took time and planning. You had to work out what you wanted to fit on; then you had to check that you weren't going to run out of tape mid-song; then get taping. If you were impatient and didn't mind reducing your favourite songs to Chipmunks covers, you might use high speed dubbing.
Meanwhile you'd try to scribble all those track names onto the inserts, which all had two things in common. First, they resisted ball points, but flowing ink pens took forever to dry; so you had to damn careful not to smudge them. Second, they always seemed to be one line too short (five lines if it was a punk tape).
So anyway by the time your tape was finished, you'd invested plenty of time in it. Why not run off a couple of copies for your mates after all that? Except of course now you've got to do that damn insert all over again ;)
All hail the mix tape.
Labels: mix tape