frank's blog

How To Make The Perfect Mix Tape

Posted in music by aldorf on June 19, 2010

This cut-and-paste hobby is “the most widely practiced American art form” (Geoffrey O’Brien). The time implicit in a mix or playlist is the real gift. It’s one of the purer gifts one can give.

1) Don’t put an average tune up first. It’s like the first sentence of a book. It has to be a striking one.

2) Know your audience’s music proclivities. Proof that you know the genre really well and surprise with some undiscovered and original choices.

3) Employ variety. Singer-songwriter is your theme but 15 to 20 songs of a man and a guitar is lame and boring.

4) Always use a classic tune. or a remix of a classic song.

5) Mix soft and loud tracks. It works. Just find the right balance and flow.

6) Include songs by female vocalists. Especially if the mix is being made for one.

7) There is no limit to the genre range.

8) Give it a title. But it needs to fit your concept. “Happy Birthday Angela.” – bad choice. “Tales of a Tired Decade” or “Music to Cut Veins” – better.

9) Be aware of the lyrical content. Especially if the mix is made for a friend. Modern pop music is largely focused upon love – either wanting it, getting it, or being disgruntled for having had it – it has little place in a platonic mix.

10) Mixes can be pathways to overthinking, and are probably even easier to misinterpret. Spiking mixes with hidden messages is not a good idea. It never works.

11) You need cover art.

More music here.

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