“I saw your eyes
And you made me smile
For a little while I was falling in love.”
– “Space Age Love Song”
Flock of Seagulls

I feel sorry for the teenagers of this generation, who will never know the value of a good mix tape. The kids who will never know the feeling of a perfectly timed B side, with only seconds of empty tape at the end, and no songs cut off.
I remember making mix tapes in high school and college, choosing themes, playing CDs, pressing record, pressing stop, until one side of a tape was full. If you weren’t careful, the tape would cut off, leaving you frustrated that you were only able to offer your recipient three-quarters of that “amazing Sunny Day Real Estate song.”
Always put punk songs at the end. They are rarely longer than two and a half minutes.
I constantly made mix tapes in college – for myself, friends, family, crushes, and boyfriends. Whatever I was listening to at the time, I wanted to share it with everyone I knew.
Tapes were eaten by poor car stereos, stepped on in dorm rooms, and generally overplayed until they were rendered unplayable.
I still have a box of tapes in my closet – a combination of tapes I made, and those given to me by others. Occasionally I will choose one by title (ie. Procrastination – one that was made in college to avoid studying for finals), and give it a play in my car, which for some unknown reason came equipped with a tape deck.
The advent of the CD burner rendered the mix tape obsolete. The computer does all of the work for you – figures out the timing, allows you to reorder the songs, fails to cut songs off. Practically genius, really.
But something is missing.
I cherish my mix CDs – those I have made for others, and especially those made for me. Nothing is greater than the gift of music – especially when it is packaged neatly by theme on an eighty minute disc.
Unless of course, it’s a mix tape.