Valentine Traditions: The Art of the Mixtape


I belong to the generation, in which, during our childhood, the world made its transition from cassette tapes to CDs. I still remember the excitement of those new shiny discs and my joy at receiving the Holy Grail of presents (at that time), a CD player. Then, came the mixed CD craze of our teenage years. Everyone was making them for each other, and when I received my first one, I cherished it. Knowing that someone took hours of their time choosing songs for me and drawing a picture on the cover made me feel so special. For some reason, though, I never made one for anyone, back then.

A few years ago, I met my now-boyfriend, Matt, and the desire to make a mixed CD, which had so eluded me in my teenage years, reared its head. Maybe it was because we had just started dating and had nothing in common apart from similar tastes in music, which, in the early days of our relationship, we discussed extensively. Or maybe, our shared love of bands from our childhood, and rediscovering those band together just made a mixed CD seem like an appropriate gift. Either way, it turned out to be one of my better ideas, and now it is a Valentine’s Day tradition for us.

People do not really get why I do this each year. I suppose that is because, over time, the mixed CD has become decidedly uncool. It is not quite as old as vinyl records, which are now retro, therefore, favoured by pseudo intellectual types. However, I have never really worried about how cool I am (or appear to be to others), so I was quite happy to start this trend, albeit being about ten years late to this particular party.

You see, what I did not realise about making a mixed CD, is how much of yourself you put into it. It really is the most personal of gifts. From painstakingly choosing every song that makes you feel emotionally connected to the person you are giving it to, to the artwork on the cover, you are, in essence, creating something that reflects your soul. It expresses feelings and emotions that only words cannot do justice.

This has been especially true after Matt left for Texas. Now that we are in a long-distance relationship, we need to be able to express ourselves in different ways, and these CDs give us the opportunity to do just that. It is not quite the same as, say, creating a playlist for your partner (as suggested by several modern blogs as a romantic thing to do). Holding an actual physical something that the other has created makes you feel connected to each other in a way that a playlist never will.

I have just completed Volume 4, and I thought I would share my favourite long distance relationship songs and the cover art for each CD.

MY THREE FAVOURITE SONGS:

  1. Jet Lag by Simple Plan
  2. Photograph by Ed Sheeran
  3. Count On Me by Bruno Mars

Two Is Better Than One, Volume 1, 2014

All The Small Things, Volume 2, 2015

The Distance, Volume 3, 2016

Miles Away, Volume 4, 2017

It’s turning into quite a nice little collection. Who knows, maybe someday, these CDs will be the new retro.

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