The Art of The Mixed Tape by Gabrielle Kassel

Nothing turns me on quiet like shared music taste. Nothing so devouring, so hot with sex(ual tension), nothing quiet as appealing. Nothing says ‘marry me’ quite like a mixtape exchange. Nothing so intimate, nothing so red and burning, nothing so telling.

Studies have shown ‘musical bonding’ progresses an early relationship at a faster speed and intensity than otherwise. Musical bonding is the result of the widespread belief thatsimilar music taste is equivalent with shared background, personality, hobbies, attitudes, and beliefs. Music taste functions as a social badge, an icon of self, a symbol of personal value and moral. Music has been engrained as an auditory emblem of connectedness and intimacy.

Therefore, a mixtape is so much more than a portable vessel for your favorite music. A deftly created mixtape is a work of art, an invitation. The creation of a good mixtape is a subtle practice, but it takes skill, finesse, and good vibes. If you consider yourself musically-knowledgeable, then the art of mixtape making is potentially the tool that will take your love life to the next level. (A mixtape is not for the musically naïve and unknowing, if you’re top played songs are all top 40 hits, you will not impress or woo anybody. A.K.A: do not put Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, or Fergie on it).

Having made every lover I’ve ever had a mixtape, I consider myself a music mixtape connoisseur. Lucky for you, I have created a list of tips to make your mixtape-gift the most successful:

1. Start and end with a bang. The first track is arguably the most important on your track. If your listener presses ‘next’ 30 seconds into the first song- you, your mixtape, and any hope at a future relationship is doomed. The following songs have successfully began the playlists, which successfully sparked some of my past relationships:
– To Be Alone With You by Sufjan Stevens
– I Already Miss You by The Kooks
– White Daisy Passing by Rocky Votalato
2. Listen to the lyrics. More likely than not, the receiver of our Mixtape will listen to the tune for a secret message. It is best to Google the lyrics before adding it to the playlist. Avoid the following:
– Every Breathe You Take by The Police= stalker
– We’re Going to be Friends by The White Stripes=platonic
– Somewhere Only We Know by Keane=cliché
3. Make it personal. If you’re making this person a mixtape, chances are you’ve spent enough time together to have a song that has significance to the relationship. For me, those songs have included:
– Runnin’ Out of Moonlight by Randy Houser
– My Body Is A Cage by Arcade Fire
4. Include a song to make out to. Remember: there is a thing line between a song good for kissing and overtly sexual song. (Perhaps avoiding The Weeknd makes sense for this mix)
5. Ironic love songs are always great. (Beauty and the Beast songs and any song by ABBA are always a hit).
6. Include 5 songs the receiver definitely won’t know. It will make you look hip, well-traveled, and alternative. Giving a mixtape is all about creating an image about how musically education you are- no shame in exaggerating your knowledge. Remixes and live versions are always well-received
– Anything by CocoRosie, The Replacements, Sea Wolf, The Morning Benders, Elliot Smith, The Tallest Man on Earth
7. Your work with the mixtape doesn’t end once the CD is burned. Next, create a table of contents for the albumn. Writing the song title and artist, and then a brief description of why you chose to put it on the CD. For example “b/c your eyes”, “b/c that flannel”, “b/c the line at 2:40”, “b/c musicals”, “b/c of your sleepy sounds”.
8. Finally, write on the CD with a permanent marker a cute message or title. For example, “for the girl who makes me smile too big”, “for the girl who finds me when I hide”, “for you, my love”. I suggest you always add the words “Vol. 1” to the title of the first mixtape you make someone- it shows an expectation of relationship futurity.
9. When gifting your ‘baby’ to the receiver, always refer to it as a mixtape. Mixtape: noun: a compilation of songs in a specific order. The word ‘mixtape’ commutates thoughtfulness and invokes a nostalgic sense of romanticism because nobody really uses tapes anymore.
10. Never underestimate the power of the mixtape. You are using somebody else’s poetry and art to express how you feel. Accept the vulnerability you are taking on through its creation. Gift it with confidence.

And at that, the perfect mixtape lies in the hand of the receiver. Trust that your receiver will hear the message you are sending them. With that I say: good luck to you, mixtape maker. I wish you the best in your endeavors in your woo-ing…

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