I was going through my Napster the other day, yes, I still have that platform, and I was looking through my playlists. I have several for whatever kind of mood I am in. I have one for all-time favorite songs, one to workout with, one for beachy music, one for sappy love songs…the list goes on. It is so easy to make a playlist these days. You just pick a song, click the three little dots and tap “add to playlist” and you are done. Easy, Easy. Back in the day though, making a playlist of your favorite songs took a lot more effort and a thing called a cassette tape and a boom box.
Anybody else remember those days? You literally had to pop in the cassette tape and wait by the radio until your song came on and then you had to hit the record button before you missed any of the song and then you had to press stop at the end before another song came on and ruined the whole thing. I would sit for hours listening to a bunch of songs that I liked before they played the one I wanted to record. And since a tape can hold about 20 songs between both sides, you knew you could spend days trying to fill it up.
Any time you hit the record button you were praying the D.J. wouldn’t talk over the song or the station didn’t have a problem and cut the song short to get the commercial in. Making a mixed tape was stressful. But we all did it. We all wanted the perfectly curated mix of our favorite songs to bop to. It took time, yes, it could be frustrating, yes, but it was better to carry around only one or two tapes instead of 20 when you went somewhere with your Walkman.
I remember calling the radio station to request a song. I had my tape ready to go when the D.J. finally announced, “This song goes out to Tracie; It’s the End of the World as We Know it by R.E.M.” or whatever I had requested. Then it was a quick jab of the record button and a sigh of relief…another song down, only a dozen or so more to go.
When MTV came out, I would even sit in front of the television with my boom box to try to record off the T.V. My theory was they played the same songs over and over again, so I felt I had a better chance of getting more songs recorded in a shorter space of time. So, there I was, holding my recorder up to the television speaker waiting for Duran Duran and Cyndi Lauper to play so I could get my tunes in. The quality was not the best, but it suited my purposes at the time. I just wanted to listen to my favorite songs, I didn’t care about a little static.
Now, I care about the static. I understand what good quality is and I am thankful technology has given us the ability to create our playlists in such a short time. I still have all the same songs on my playlists that I had on my mixed tapes…duh, I am forever an 80’s girl, but I do have a variety of other songs as well. My tastes run anywhere from Sinatra to The Velvet Underground to The Crystals to Green Day to even some country. I am eclectic down to my core.
I miss making mixed tapes though. Even with all the frustration and mishaps that occurred while recording, it was definitely an accomplishment when it was finished, and you had written all the titles and artists on that little, tiny space they give you. It makes me nostalgic for those times. And if there is one thing I am about it is nostalgia.
***Questions for the comments…Did you make mixed tapes? What was the one song you had to have on it? And do you still have that song on your playlist today?
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