Why mix tapes are still the best gift you can give someone

The 80s in a nutshell: big hair, bright colors and rockin’ music. There is something to be said about a generation that produced such musical legends like Journey, Aerosmith, and Guns N’ Roses. Clearly, they were doing something right.

Although I agree that the neon scrunchies and crimped hair can and should stay in the past, one thing that should never be forgotten from the 80s is mixtapes — and no, I’m not talking about the “fire mix-tape” that your hyper-indie Facebook friend posted on Soundcloud. I’m talking about old school, personalized playlists.

I’m not exactly sure why this gesture started to die out. I guess that the more digitalized that music has become, the more we started to think of it as an individual experience. Sure, I get how easy it is to put in your earbuds and block out the world. Yes, music is a totally personal thing, but the experience is enhanced so much more when you open it up to the rest of the world and start to share that experience with them too.

Maybe a classic 80’s 8-track isn’t the way to go anymore, but the great thing about technology is that now we have even more ways to share music with our friends. You’re able to make an iTunes playlist, a Spotify playlist, burn a CD, put songs on a flash drive —the possibilities are pretty much endless at this point. Why people assume that this custom is outdated, I will never understand. Some of the greatest gifts that I have ever given or received have been personalized playlists.

Give someone a personalized playlist is quite honestly one of the most thoughtful gifts that you can possibly give to a person. When you give someone a collection of songs that relate to them, or make you think of them, you’re able to say so many things that would otherwise be impossible. Even better, by giving someone the music that means most to you, you essentially give them a part of yourself. They can know you on a deeper level and understand how you feel about them as well. For people who don’t exactly wear their emotions on their sleeve, music is the perfect outlet for them to express how they feel.

Music is often attached to memories, but some songs are attached to people. One of the greatest most outstanding gifts that I received when graduating from high school was a CD that one of my best friends burned for me. She created a playlist of songs that made her think of our group of best friends and gave us each a copy before we all left to pursue our dreams. Now, I can’t listen to any of the songs on the playlist without being reminded of her, the rest of our friends, and all of our incredible memories. By connecting herself and our other friends to these songs, she has ensured that the memory of our friendship is going to live on. This is the power that lies in the sharing of music.

Why on Earth people have started to overlook the perfection of a carefully crafted mixtape is beyond me, but the concept definitely needs to be revived. Personalized music is and will always be the best gift for any music lover.

-Abigail Miller

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