It doesn't matter if you're together or single, music is universal. Spending the day alone or with a loved one is irrelevant. It's the soundtrack that's important. So here we go, a tried and true crash course on how to make the perfect mixtape for your little love buddy...or for yourself.
We won't tell anyone.
First thing's First: Set The Mood
Are you trying to put the moves on someone or are you trying to put together something that they'll listen to and think of you? You've got to make that decision.
There's a difference between a playlist that's for nostalgia and a playlist that's for well...you know what I'm saying.
Next, pick the first three tracks.
The first three tracks should have a specific agenda. It's very important to grab the listener at the onset. If you screw up the first three songs, well, you've screwed up the mixtape.
1. Upbeat Rock / Club track to get them excited to listen to the rest of the tape. (This can be a song that you guys like from the radio)
2. A similar rhythm in a different style, to keep them guessing.
3. A slower, more thoughtful track with introspective lyrics.
This will make the listener understand how much effort you put into what you're giving them. If it's just similar stuff over an over again they'll stop listening and give you that, "uh, thanks but no thanks" look while contemplating why you didn't get them a real gift.
Flesh out the middle with some deep cuts from their favorite artists.
So if you've got someone on your hands that loves indie rock (which is great by the way, good for you), you might want to figure out what their favorite band is...then surprise them with some unsuspecting tracks from their deep catalog. This will make you look like you really know music, and it'll help you earn brownie points with your significant other.
Choose three or four tracks, then you're almost to the home stretch!
Round it out with three perfect, classic love songs.
I'm talking romance here people, and not the cheap kind. Reach back into that romantic sense of longing given to us by artists like The Beatles and Whitney Houston. Honestly, this part doesn't have to be creative. The first few songs will get that done, and after they listen to their favorite band or group of bands for the middle third of the mixtape they won't even know what hit them.
Seriously, get cheesy here especially with the first two songs.Then make the final one a zinger, maybe a special song that you two shared a memory with. That's what makes a mixtape special, the memories associated with the songs.
After you've done the labour of picking the songs, you've got to package the sucker. Start with a thoughtful note:
Okay, maybe not a note that ends with "Meh", but you get the idea. A handwritten kind of thing will make it that much more personal. Tuck it into the CD sleeve, or case and watch in amazement as the person swoons over your sappy love-struck gift.
Next, make sure the CD case and the cover show off your personality, and the personality of your relationship. The worst thing you can do is create a fabulous mixtape that is true to your relationship and then sap it up with a cover that has nothing to do with that. Design it after the music, and yourself! Don't go red and pink if that's not what you're about.
I love this design above, because it's basically art. And, it doesn't look sappy at all. Using words and lyrics for the cover always looks good. Get creative.
Finally, give it to them when they least expect it. Don't take the traditional route, because honestly, mixtapes are about connecting through the most beautiful channel imaginable: music. So surprise them, and give them something that will last forever.
And! If you'd like to see a living example of what I'd put on my perfect V Day mixtape you can read that card here: Tess' Modern Mixtape