I have one finger on Record and one finger on Play. For the past hour I have been pressing Pause, Record, Play, Stop every three to four minutes. Any guess as to what I’m doing? If you were born after 1985, you have no idea what I’m talking about. You never felt the panic of running to your boom box after hearing your local DJ introduce your new favorite song on the radio, just to miss the first few seconds of the song as you slide over your Teen Beat magazines and feebly press down on Record/Play. You will never have to work at rewinding to the beginning of your “breakup song” for the fifteenth time. *whirl of tape* Stop. Went too far *whirl of tape* Stop. Different song *whirl of tape* Stop. *whirl* *whirl* Play “…out from the inside, In your Eyes, the light the heat, In your eyes, I am complete…” close enough.
I happen to have in my possession a magical machine that turns tape cassette recordings into digital files on my computer. That’s right! That tape that’s the copy of a copy of that band that was so hip at one time can now be listened to again. Those mix tapes from boys of days past can now be played on my iPod!
Dang man, getting a mix tape really meant something back in the day. You knew the person really liked you when you got that tape in your hand. The hours spent syncing the blank tape with the song recordings. Making sure each song flowed well with each other. Possibly taping your own voice in a message of adoration. Making sure your mother was not recorded yelling “Dinner!” God help you if you didn’t have a dual cassette boom box. Mastering the Pause/Stop technique of ending a song, so that there were no harsh mechanical sounds corroding the mood. Handwriting each artist and song title in different colors in marker on each line of the liner note cards for visual stimuli. Making a mix tape should have earned some college credit. I spent more time making tapes than studying anyhow.
So now I’m turning the tapes of my youth into digital files. My angst-ridden, walk-down-memory-lane mix tapes from the 90’s will shortly be uploaded onto my iPod. ‘Shortly’ is a relative word since this is taking… shit, stop. STOP!
(five minutes later)
Sorry, the song ended and I had to press stop on the tape machine. With four songs recorded and eight more to go, soon one of my 12 tapes will be done! *Sigh* This is not an instant gratification process because the transferring happens in real time. The machine plays the tape while the computer program records it. Once the song ends, I press stop on both the machine and my computer. I could keep the tape playing, but that would create one 45 minute track rather than individual songs. The next step is to edit the newly dubbed digital song so there’s not too much dead air play before and after the song ends. You have to then export the song into MP3 format. And, of course, always press Save. Yeah, man… good times. Totally brings me back… Craaap…
(five minutes later)
Terrible news… Seems some of my tapes are dying. In the middle of the song the tape suddenly gets slower and the sounds of Satan take over. Then the tape picks up steam and the song is back in tune. So, my MP3 recording now has a message from the Netherworld embedded in it. Well, might as well keep at this…
This is kind of fun. Remembering my high school years…
Huh, now that I’m reading the liner notes, I’m finding that a lot of my mix tapes have the same songs on them. Not so creative after all. I also uploaded most of the albums these songs were from onto my computer a few years ago. Why am I recording these songs again? I don’t need duped songs with shitty tape sound quality! I can just make a playlist off the liner notes. And dudes, some of the songs on these mixes are making me hate the 15 year old me. Get over yourself! Pain?! You don’t know pain. Wait until your 20’s!
You know, recording in real time is getting old. I mean, I’m trying to enjoy the nostalgia of recording tapes, but come on, I got shit to do. I’m no kid procrastinating from homework. I have real responsibilities now. Freakin’ NCIS is on in ten minutes! This is no one-click, “Create CD” wham bam thank you ma’am, there is your mix deal. It’s seriously record, play, listen to the entire song, pause, stop, next song.
And now I see the downfall of this magical tape to digital machine. I just found one of the albums I was dubbing online for sale! I think my time is worth $9.99. BUY! Woot, one click and I gots me music! Sorry mix tapes. You are losing my favor. You’re still a good set list, but you’re becoming just another faded memory for me.
These are new, instant gratification days my friends. Why struggle to make a mix? Especially if it is a gift! It is the thought that counts. Right?! Dragging and clicking doesn’t necessarily change the intention. I care! I just care in less time. Perhaps I don’t want to push my music taste on you? Yeah! And tapes sound like shit. Also, writing on the tiny liner notes makes my arthritis act up. I would much rather just print out the song names off the internet. And now I have time to watch my shows. You wouldn’t want me to miss my shows, would you?