Monday, March 28, 2011

The Art Of The Mixtape (well, CD/playlist)

One of my favorite things to do is make a mix. I have made countless mix CD's and playlists over the years, whether it be for someone else or myself (my last one was a mix of all my favorite 90's songs to listen on the commute to school). Mixes are a highly personal thing and can be used to share new artists with your friends or used to express feelings with someone close to you. As a total music nerd, I love making mixes and I will agonize over the most trivial little details and spend hours searching for a song that's lyrics and feel fit what I am trying to express. I also adhere to the unwritten rules of making mixtapes, though I will not even pretend that I know all of them or where they even originated from.

Some of the more popular rules are:
1. NEVER use an artist more than once
2. Try to take the songs you like and match them with the other persons interests. For example, if the person you are making the mix for likes poppier songs, it probably isn't best to throw on that obscure noise-rock song you love on there.
3. Try and create a balance to the mix. You don't want to many "upbeat" songs back to back, nor do you want to many slower songs back to back (unless that is the theme of your mix). Try and alternate as best you can, this keeps the listener guessing and also makes it feel balanced.

That is just a few of the rules that exist out there and I am sure some people would not agree with my choices, but I know a few people have similar criteria. Today I am sharing a mix CD I made for my fiancee for one of our anniversary's because it is something of a tradition we started with each other. Below is the tracklist, some descriptions and video of key tracks.

1. Damien Jurado "Apart" - A very slow and beautiful acoustic track by Damien Jurado. The lyrics repeat (and there are not many of them), but coupled with the music this is a track that pretty much sums up my feelings for my fiancee.

2. House and Parish "What Have I Been Waiting For?" - This one I snuck on mostly for my own enjoyment. An upbeat, breezy pop song, this is one of the best songs the band has written.Ex -The Promise Ring, Texas Is The Reason and The Gloria Record.

3. Landon Pigg "Falling In Love At A Coffee Shop" - One of our favorite songs to sing together, possibly because it was branded into our subconscious thanks to all the commercials that used this song. Good song though.

4. Tal Bachmann "Shes So High" - One of our all-time favorite 90's songs (It came out in '99, but who cares. It still counts). Probably the song my fiancee likes to play the most after "Get What You Give".

5. Dashboard Confessional "I Do"

6. Old 97's "Question" - About a couple's relationship and tells the story of our engagement. I made this mix shortly after we became engaged, and it has become the sort of unofficial song for our relationship. One of my favorites.

7. Spoon "The Way We Get By" - Another song I snuck on here that I had a feeling my fiancee would like (thank goodness she did). Pretty much just an upbeat song that I think sort of reflects our time going to parties when she was still in school.

8. Ben Folds "The Luckiest" - One of the saddest but most beautiful songs I have ever heard. Talks about finally finding that special person after going through a lot of bad relationships and mistakes to get there. Ben Folds can do no wrong in my eyes. YouTube won't let me embed the video, but check it out here.
9. New Radicals "Get What You Give" - One of my fiancee's all time favorite songs. Enough said.
10. The Postal Service "We Are Silhouettes"
11. The Starting Line "Island"
12. Rocky Votolato "The City Is Calling"
13.Kings Of Leon "Sex Is On Fire" - Our favorite Kings of Leon song. The only reason this made it on the playlist was for that reason and the fact I thought the mix was too short.

Do you have any mixtape rules? What is the best mix you have been given? As always, let me know in the replies!


  1. There is absolutely an art to creating the perfect mix cd especially when making it for someone else. It is one that need be perfected otherwise you end up looking like a crazy person to the one you made the mix for. I love the Spoon song and the Tal Bachman song, those are classics and a fun few to jam out to while making the commute to and from school.

  2. Ah, there's nothing like giving or receiving a great mix tape. Good post.

  3. I like this post a lot. It's been so long since I made a mix. My old iPod had two playlists on it, one called "Running music" and the other called "Poor fucking me music." I made the second one after my ex boyfriend dumped was loaded with sappy, sad pity-me music, but it really helped. You're really good at picking the appropriate songs for the occasion. Thanks for sharing. What songs do you think would be good to make a motivational playlist for the gym with. I already have a "gym music" playlist, but it would be cool to see what you could come up with.