If you’ve never received a mixtape from someone then perhaps this might go over your head.  I also admit that my view of the mixtape may be seen through rose tinted glasses.  I may have been spoiled since the first mixtape I ever received was from my boyfriend at the time and it set the bar.  A bar that to this day has not been surpassed.

I was just beginning to step away from my punk foundation and had started to explore more metal bands.  I received this tape out of the blue one day, a handwritten track list on the back.  This tape basically laid a new foundation for me and opened up so much over the years.  My initial introduction included bands such as Bloodlet, Dillinger Escape Plan, Shellac, and Cave In, to name a few.  Some of the albums these songs belonged to are still on my list of all time favorites.

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Somehow I managed not to wear the tape down from repeated plays.  I began hunting for the records and 7”s these songs came from.  Each band brought me to another which snowballed over time.  After I moved away from that small town, I received another mixtape from someone.  I tried to get past the distaste of being handed a CD and not a cassette tape.  But my initial reaction was on point.

The mix was terrible.  No flow to the songs, just a random mix with no highs and lows.  And I couldn’t get past the thought of what would drive someone to make a CD full of California pop punk songs for a girl who said her favorite bands at the time included Isis, The Locust, and Neurosis.

I sound like a snob.  I assure you I am not.  I was incredibly grateful to receive a mix.  I have a different view on mixtapes, however.  It’s an art form.  A balance.  In the past when I have made a mix it’s been hours of looking for the right songs, putting together a track list that you think the other person might like.  Making sure one song flows well into the next and the final product is something that flows well overall.  I could never take a random scattering of whatever pleased me and throw it together with no order, no flow.

It could be that I think too much about the process.  I like to get lost in these things because you don’t make a mix for just anyone.  So if you were making a mix, what would be your opening song?

I can already tell you what mine is.  My opening track would be “Prayer to God” by Shellac.  I know I’m not the first to think that this is hands down one of the most romantic songs ever written.

I suppose my final question is whether the mixtape is extinct.  With technology now you can share playlists, but is the era of handing over a physical creation gone?  I have not been inspired to make anyone a mix in a long time so I am genuinely curious.  Plus my ghetto blaster was laid to rest after countless years, apartments, and cities and I have yet to replace it.  So please feel free to share your mixtape stories.

-Thalia Gore-

2 thoughts on “The Mixtape Extinction

  1. I think there is something to be said for the mixtape mindset translating to sharing playlists; for instance I’m listening to a playlist put together by Tom Begley, the bassist of Bossk, right now. This is something specifically Deathwish Inc. has started to do with artists from the label on occasion, and I know it’s something I enjoy. The age of physically sharing playlists or mixes whether it be on cassette or CD, is something I think that is becoming extinct or may already be. I love the tactile experience of buying CDs, records, and cassettes and that will never change; but if I’m asked to share music, typically I’m asked to put it on a flash drive.

    Liked by 1 person

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