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Rhythm & soul: Farewell to the mixtape

By Kathleen McWilliams
On February 12, 2014

There used to be this oddly romantic concept of creating a mix tape for your crush or significant other. A mix tape told them how you felt about them in a sequence of songs and would have been played and replayed by the lucky recipient. While the concept has died with the digital age-goodbye cassettes with the hand written track listings- what is to say that the romantic notion of sharing feelings through music is really dead?
Everybody knows how to feel when he or she hears "(Don't You) Forget About me" by Simple Minds. We all know it as the theme from the end of "The Breakfast Club" and we all feel that bittersweet, romantic feeling. This brings me to the crux of my argument today. Movie soundtracks are the last existing remnants of mix tapes. A well-crafted soundtrack, not a musical score, stands as a perfectly arranged complement to the mood of the movie. Each song tells you how to feel and what to expect in the film, often heightening the experience.
"Whip It" has one the best soundtracks-mix tapes if you will- out there. Mixing together songs from Tilly and the Wall "Pot Kettle Black," and .38 Special's "Caught Up In You" the soundtrack is a superb mix of edgy and quirky tunes. The album perfectly combines what it is like to be a repressed teenager in a diverse mix of songs.
Much like "Whip It" has an angsty feel to the soundtrack, "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" has an incredible mix of one night stand type love songs. Each song is sweet and misguided, much like the characters. The vibe of the soundtrack is cute and gives you the impression of what it like to be longing for someone while pursuing another relationship.
What makes these soundtracks so much like a mix tape is that they combine different styles and artists to create a new sound. It's interesting and more fun to listen to than a single band's album. Whoever received the mix tape will find meaning in each song, not just the entire album, and you get the privilege of exposing someone you care about to new music.
For those celebrating Valentine's Day, a mix tape might be a good way to show your significant other how you feel. Mixing your favorites songs together and adding some new ones will spice up the standard roses and chocolate. My suggestions for great songs for a Valentine's Day mix tape include "Au Revoir" by One Republic and "Before It gets Better" by Earlimart. Other classics include, "Atlas" by Coldplay and "Caring Is Creepy" by the Shins.

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