The Sad Demise of the Sex Mixtape
Gather ‘round the cathode ray glow, kiddies, and let me regale you with the tale of a phenomenon that was a ‘thing’ only a few decades ago: THE MIXTAPE. Nowadays, rappers and hip hop artists release things ‘called’ mixtapes, but they are really just ep’s or compilations of singles, not a true mixtape. First, a little background. Since I’m an old fart, I’ve lived through many different audio formats in my day.
I know that many of you may know what that is, but it’s what music USED to be exclusively made for. These days, hipsters and ‘audiophiles’ like to pay a lot of moolah for limited runs of new albums on vinyl. Does it sound better? Eh, maybe, but the artwork of the album covers was killer.
Everyone listens to everything on their phones these days, but this was the go-to portable device for anyone who wanted to listen to music or news or sports. Sure, the signal was crap, and the AM was nothing but static, but it was all we had. I remember having the radio next to my head at night when I was supposed to be sleeping, listening to the ‘CBS Radio Mystery Theater’ or a distant baseball game.
By the 70’s, 8 track tapes were all the rage. Problem is, they were big, bulky, and could only play music on 4 channels per tape with about 20 minutes of space on each channel. So if a song went over the allotted time, it would fade out and fade in on the next channel: bummer!
Which leads me to the point of the article: the cassette recorder/player. This was the choice of most folks, because you could actually record things off of the radio,TV, even your own voice, then play it back at your leisure.
This flexibility lead to a weird social dance called the mixtape. I don’t know how it started, but boys (and sometimes girls) would record a series of songs on cassette to reveal their feelings to the object of their desire: sorta like a souped up love note. Sometimes the boy would add a little narration, if he felt really strongly about it. Of course, there were other mixtape iterations: mixtapes for parties, for road trips, for just about anything you could think of. Music artists also took advantage of the trend, putting together a cassette of their music to sell at clubs or gigs, often out of the trunk of their car.
If the romantic mixtape worked, and you got the girl, then another mixtape was needed: the sex mixtape. When you were alone with your sweetie, you would fire up the carefully crafted mixtape to get you both in the mood for the coming erotic festivities. Back in the day, you were constrained by what was on the radio if you were in the backseat of the car, or you had to play a whole album of an artist if you were at home. But with the mixtape, you and your boo could carefully craft JUST the right songs and artists to enhance your fun times.
Classic R&B was the choice for my generation, with Marvin Gaye leading the way with songs like ‘Let’s Get It On’ and ‘Sexual Healing’. Other faves were Al Green’s ‘Love and Happiness’, Etta James’ ‘At Last’, Luther Vandross’ ‘Here and Now’, and pretty much ANYTHING by Prince.
But with the explosion of technology, what with cd’s, then mp3’s, then spotify, i-tunes and the like, the mixtape faded into the same obscurity as typewriters, fax machines, and respect for your fellow man.
Social media is so pervasive now that I assume the young ‘uns of today would NEVER take the time or effort to construct an ode to their beloved in mixtape form. Maybe a playlist on some music service. But that’s kinda cold, no?
And just one search on the google tells me that the sex mixtape is now for sale on Amazon and is no different than the ‘Now That’s What I Call Music!’ compilations. It’s sad that you have to pick a preset song list — that’s lazy! I assume that some people out there will make a playlist on their phones or the music service of their choice and still have control over what gets them in the mood. But is the sex mixtape even A THING anymore? Am I an out of touch fossil? If the sex mixtape Is a thing of the past, then we are all the worse for it’s passing…
Do you guys and gals still do the sex mixtape thing? What songs are your faves? Renew my faith in humanity!