Pardon me while I date myself, but when I began making cassette mixtapes, in the 80s, I don’t think anyone was using the term “mixtape” yet. But I owned a cheap stereo with a cassette deck, was recently married, and incurable romantic that I am, I would sit by the radio with my fingers on the Play and Record buttons and make mixtapes – for my car.
Yes, it’s true. I made them not for love but for driving. Sometimes they were things from my record collection, already reaching alarming size back then, but mostly they were songs I’d record from the elusive WLIR – a Long Island based “modern rock” station that beat the crap out of the commercial wasteland here in the city. I still have a couple of those cassettes. They never sounded good to begin with, and being left in a hot car on a number of occasions has not improved matters. But they capture a moment in time, and can be an evocative reminder of friends and occasions that I might otherwise forget.
For people who actually made or received mixtapes as part of a romance, that must be even more evocative – perhaps painfully so. What’s your experience with mixtapes? And what do you think of the recent idea of sharing them online, for all to see/hear?