Zen and the Art of Mixtapes
There are a few things in life that are indisputably sacred:
1. Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run album
2. Reduced Fat Oreos
Dropping truth bombs left and right over here, aren't I? I don't want to get into a fight or anything, but just know that I'm right about reduced fat Oreos. They're infinitely better than all other types of Oreos. I once direct messaged the Oreo Twitter account to ask if they'd stopped selling reduced fat Oreos because I couldn't find them anywhere. I don't mess around when it comes to reduced fat Oreos.
Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about mixtapes. I. LOVE. MIXTAPES. I remember the very first mixtape I ever got. It was in middle school from a girl named Lizzy. She started it off with Banana Pancakes by Jack Johnson. A bold start to a mixtape, right? Other hits included Seasons of Love from RENT, Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Green Day, and I Write Sins Not Tragedies by Panic! At The Disco.
(Obviously I'm not talking about actual mixtapes because, sadly, cassettes are an antiquated music storage device that even hipsters couldn't resurrect.)
I like mixtapes because they're usually from people who are important to me, plus new music rocks. O.G. mixtape maker Lizzy and I don't talk anymore, but we had a solid few years of middle school friendship. It may come as a surprise to you, but I knew nothing about music in middle school. I barely knew who Green Day was or Jack Johnson. My music tastes began and ended with Disney Channel stars. Aly& AJ were my first concert. Maybe my cool factor has dropped significantly, BUT I still stand by the fact that their cover of Lovin' Spoonful's Do You Believe In Magic is actually pretty great.
There's an art to making mixtapes. You can't just throw the songs on a CD all willy-nilly like some kind of heathen. Are you kidding me? There's gotta be a flow, a natural order to the songs. They have to build on one another. Tell a story. It's not as simple as all fast songs or all slow songs. You have to let the tempo ebb and flow.
In case you haven't guessed, I'm clearly not the type of person who just shuffles her music. I make playlists for every mood. Oh, is it raining outside and I have to drive somewhere? Let me put on my rainy weather driving playlist. What's that? It's fall and I'm wearing flannel and sipping on a latte while surrounded by leaves changing colors? Better put on Pumpkin Spicy (yes, that's an actual playlist I've made).
If you do it right, mixtapes enhance the mood. It's why we have movie soundtracks. It's why musicals exist. Music just makes the world make sense. You have to pick songs you love because mixtapes are meant to be sung. Loudly. That's it. And put the songs in an order that isn't just a savage free-for-all. There's not much else to it.
- Poor Man's Son - Noah Gundersen
- Fake Empire - The National
- Shiver and Shake - Ryan Adams
- Going to California - Led Zeppelin
- Never Going Back Again - Fleetwood Mac
- To Be Alone - Hozier
- Just Another Girl - The Killers
- She Lit a Fire - Lord Huron
- Work Song - Hozier
- Cigarettes - Noah Gundersen
- I'm On Fire - Bruce Springsteen
- The Wind - Cat Stevens
- Oh My Sweet Carolina - Ryan Adams
- Thunder Road - Bruce Springsteen
- Crimson and Clover - Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
- You Don't Know How It Feels - Tom Petty
- Starting All Over Again - Daryl Hall & John Oates
- April Come She Will - Simon & Garfunkel
- To Leave Something Behind - Sean Rowe
- 100 Years - Five for Fighting