Ah, mixtapes. Much like the love letter, mixtapes were once a go-to way of showing that certain someone just how you felt about them. Also like love letters, the mixtape has begun to fade into obscurity. In an age where it's easier to text the link to a song instead of taking the time to burn an entire CD I am here to argue that we bring mixtapes back.
There's a scene in the movie "Bring It On" where the main character, Torrance, receives a mixtape from this guy named Cliff. To me, Torrance's reaction to the songs he chose for her perfectly captures what a mixtape is all about. This was more than just a mixtape to Cliff, it was his way of telling Torrance he loved her, and while it is easier and therefore more appealing to send someone you like a text with a link to a song, it is nowhere near as personal as a mixtape. That's the beauty of a mixtape; it's just so personal.
Maybe you don't have a significant other, but mixtapes aren't just for confessing your love. In high school I had this almost unhealthy obsession with creating mixtapes. It started out just a fun thing I did on occasion for a close friend's birthday or a holiday but I found myself creating mixes for people I considered acquaintances or even total strangers. Music has a way of bringing people together. There was no better feeling to me than spending hours finding just the right songs and carefully arranging the songs into the "right" order. I take it back; there is one better feeling and that it came when I saw the look on my friends' faces when they listened to their (carefully crafted and pun-titled) mixes for the first time. Sometimes I'd scrawl down my favorite lyric from each song or one I thought they'd like or reminded me of them. It's the little things like lyrics or slipping in a song you heard the person say they absolutely adored that when mixed with the fact that you were willing to invest the amount of time it takes to make a mix that makes mixtapes so great.
When it comes down to it, mixtapes are memories. Maybe it's something big like your first love or your first heartbreak, or maybe it's the little things like the song you danced too hard to and punched your friend in the face (I'm still sorry about that, Courtney), or screaming the lyrics to a "High School Musical" song as you and your friends sped down a backroad on a summer night, but songs mean something. And if songs mean something, mixtapes tell a story. Much like your favorite book as a child, a mixtape is there for you to hear time and time again, only instead of imagining someone else's story, you get to listen to your own.
Making fetch happen never quite worked out, but mixtapes are definitely something we can and should make happen. So the next time you're itching to send that link, consider adding it to a list of songs and surprise that person with a mixtape of songs catered specifically to them. Trust me, the time is worth it.