The return of 90’s fashion staples, such as jelly shoes and halter-tops, has pushed people to return to old school everything. Polaroid photos flood my Instagram feed, record players are “in”, and mixtapes are back. While the only mixtapes I have come in contact with myself are online (on 8tracks), the idea still holds: a small mix of one’s favorite songs by a variety of artists.
I never have received a mixtape myself, but I have recently become obsessed with the idea of giving one. As a huge fan of music, I am always making playlists when I get new music or am inspired by a certain song, so the natural next step is to put it on a CD, give it a name and give it to someone.
Prom has basically been on my mind for a year. I started my “campaign” to get Jackson Guthy to go to prom with me as I entered my junior year in high school and now my senior year is fast approaching. As one to turns to music in every emotional instance, when Jackson Guthy originally said yes to my promposal, I went right to my music library.
Here are some tips to making the perfect mixtape:
- Edit, Edit, Edit! – I spent a good 6 months or so on this one playlist so it is safe to say that the “vibe” of the playlist changed constantly. Don’t be afraid to play around with the songs and the order!
- Have A Theme – This is not absolutely necessary to making a mixtape but I found it helped me throughout the process. Having a theme (summer, friendship, pump-up, (and in my case) prom) or a certain vibe you want your mixtape to have helps when weeding through particularly large music libraries and also keeps you on track. You don’t want a summer mixtape with Christmas music on it, right?
- Keep It Short – I made the rookie mistake of making my mixtape for Jackson too long (and ended up wasting a blank CD). Make sure you know how many minutes a blank CD supports and make sure your playlist isn’t any longer!
- Don’t Repeat – Try not to repeat artists on a mixtape. I know this may sound difficult, but then it is truly a MIXtape, not just a compilation of a few whole albums. I would limit it to two songs by a certain artist to make sure you get a good mix.
- Think of a Rockin’ Title – The title is the first thing the recipient of your mixtape sees (unless you decide to be artsy and leave it untitled). I am a huge fan of quotes and High School Musical (there was a marathon when I was making the cover art) so I obviously used Troy Bolton’s prom quote as my title: “My Prom Is Wherever You Are”. It was a perfect fit for my prom situation and who doesn’t love a little HSM?
- Design A Cover – Designing the cover for my mixtapes was probably my favorite part. I had the freedom to make the cover of my CD look however I wanted it to look, and it’s a great way to personalize it for a gift! Also, I love putting a Polaroid picture in the front cover (and if you don’t have a Polaroid you want to part with, leave a space and take one when you give it!).
- Design A Back Cover – While this is less of a designing process as the front cover, the back cover is a perfect place to write out the track list of your mixtape. When you insert a blank CD to your computer, it will not recognize the names of the songs or the artists it will just come up as Track 1, Track 2 and so on. Make sure the recipient of your mixtape knows what he or she is listening to!
- Take A Break – If you feel stuck with the current state of a mixtape, leave it and come back. By the time you return, new music will have been released and you may have a new idea about the order/theme/vibe!
I hope these tips help to all you mixtapers out there! If you are curious about what my mixtape for Jackson sounded like, go have a listen right here.
Peace n Blessings