Monday, July 11, 2011

Standards Rule: Junior High/High School Mix Tape Standards

I’m not quite sure when it died off, but for the longest time, I had some strict mix tape standards.  Of course, what makes it onto the tape is largely dictated by who you were making the tape for.  But beyond that, I suspect we all had mix tape standards - that is, rules that we followed regardless of the recipient of the tape.  Mine were something like this:
  • Side A:  start with two fast paced/moderately paced songs; then alternate between one slow song followed by two fast/moderate songs until you ran into the leader tape.  (I didn’t really care that songs were cut off.  See standard number 3.)
  • Side B:  start with a slow tune, then work back to the one slow, two fast/moderately paced tunes formula.
  • Never leave blank space on the tape.
  • If the mix tape was supposed to be slow or depressing, invert the standards so that it’s two slow songs followed by one fast/moderately paced tune.
  • List only band names on the cassette sleeve; song names could be done on the inside of the sleeve or on an insert that I would make.  (I usually opted for the insert.)

I was crazy about organizing tapes into themes - I loved the challenge.  I won’t quite call it a standard because I didn’t do it on every tape.  But to be sure, I did it whenever I could get away from it.  My love of thematically organized mix tapes sometimes overruled good taste - see image below.  It is a scan from my first journal, given to me as an 8th grade graduation present (St. Marys Class of 1986) from my sister Anne.  Those who knew me at the time knew my love for Husker Du’s music was deep, and that “Diane” was probably one of my least favorite songs by them.  And Chuck Berry?  What the fuck?  But hey - doesn’t matter if it stinks, it fits the formula, right?
Good thing I made a note to play "Delta Dawn" on 45 rpms.


  1. That mix looks terrible

  2. I actually have (or should say had) a copy of a Matt Zink mix tape -- Kat passed it on to was actually a very cool tape. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Butthole Surfers - They Might Be Giants -- such greatness. However looking at your criteria above I wonder if you broke rank on this one or if Kat messed with it. Good times!

    1. I'd love to hear what's on that tape! Or maybe not. . .