I am old enough to have received exactly one real mixtape in my life before the world moved on to CDs. I only remember that it contained the song “Love Fool” by The Cardigans and I thought it was very cool. Nobody makes mixes like that anymore, painstakingly recording favorite tracks from tape to tape. People barely even use CDs these days, preferring Soundcloud playlists or zip files shared through Dropbox. But the term "mixtape" lives on and so, too, does the idea of mix-making as a labor of love for friends, lovers, but especially crushes. We still deliberate over the precise order of tracks and the most perfect transitions. For crush mixtapes, we carefully select songs that hint at our feelings without ever coming on too strong.
Maybe today the mixtape ritual is nothing more than an exercise in analog nostalgia. But there’s no question that people still love making mixes. I know because when we asked our listeners to help us make a crush mixtape for Valentines Day, the response was overwhelming. We got over 80 song suggestions on Twitter and Facebook and we put together a 15-song mix, of which I am extremely proud. But we also collected every suggestion into a mega-playlist on Spotify. It’s a great collection of songs and a perfect resource for the next time you make a crush mixtape of your own.
What the Internet has to say:
Everyone has a slightly different crush mix technique but I happen to fully agree with the rules laid out in this Buzzfeed piece about mixtape seduction. And in case you think all of this seems arcane, Stephen Thompson explains why it’s still nice to give mixes in physical form. The folks over at All Songs Considered asked their listeners about their favorite love songs and, like us, they made a playlist. Speaking of love songs, Ted Gioia has a new book on the subject. You know how lots of songs describe love as enslavement? Well Gioia says that wasn’t originally a metaphor. Drake knows his way around a good love song. He also surprised us all with a new release this week and further confused the meaning of the word “mixtape” in 2015. In light of this confusion I suggest everyone revisit Skinny Friedman’s Noisey piece about the distinction between rap albums and mixtapes.
What we've been doing:
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that everyone on the Pitch team has a history of giving (and getting) crush mixtapes. We swap our #crushtape stories in this Valentines Day uncore, featuring Phish, klezmer music, and Taylor Swift. Elsewhere in the world of radio, KCRW’s Unfictional ran a deluxe version of Alex’s episode about Moulty, the one-armed drummer who knows a thing or two about true love.
We’re making some changes to the newsletter. You’ll find us in your inbox on Sunday rather than Saturday. Instead of letting you know what everyone else was saying on the internet, we want to start a conversation ourselves--in the newsletter and on Twitter with all of you. This week we’ll be talking about music in the movies so please join us. In the meantime, I’m considering starting a career as mixtape consultant. If you’re in need of my services, find me on Twitter @ellenrebeccam.