Mix Master

Posted: February 17, 2015 in Uncategorized
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By Tricia Lunt, English Faculty

There is no sweeter gift than one made with love especially for you.

Among my favorite types of homemade gift is the music mix, once a mixed tape, then a mixed CD, now an online playlist. No matter its form, the charm of a music mix resides in the expression of care and understanding and delight and love.

Over many years, I have been thrilled to receive some extraordinary mixes from friends, the occasional student, and even especially for me from the man I love from time to time.

The end of the film High Fidelity perfectly captures the essence of constructing a good mix. Nick Hornby’s definition is flawless; I shall only add my idiosyncratic wrinkles. My research produced a book called Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture, which I’ll add to my reading list. Of primary importance is creating a mix specifically to please another.

A truly good mix will have a charming title, and sometimes personalized inserts. My favorites, in heavy rotation and nearing exhaustion, include the tremendously thoughtful “Up at Bat: I & II” from Holly, “Sushi Mix” from Hanna, “Living is Easy” from Kris, the “I Kiss You” series from Jen, “Oooh la la la” from Jenny, “Getting Dish Back to School” from Emily, “Summer wood” from Jeremiah, and many workout mixes from Ingrid.


To be truly beloved, a music mix must contain music by artists that both the giver and recipient like, both separately and in common. For example, my “Sushi” mix from Hanna includes music from Queen, a band we both adore, and music from some of her particular favorites, and mine. It is a special fusion of taste.

A good mix will also include new music, fresh treats discovered by the mix maker and shared like a wonderful secret. My friends have always been cooler than me; through them, I discover cutting-edge musicians long before mass popularity.

A good mix shares hidden messages, like “I Ain’t Ever Loved A Man” by Aretha,  “Living My Life Like it’s Golden” by Jill Scott , and anthems, like “Hot for Teacher” and  “You Can Have Whatever You Like” cover by Anya Marina, and memories, “Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues, and a larger sense of unity present in well-structured albums.

The songs must be selected especially for the listener; crafting a unique listening experience embodies a profound connection. Constructed as a musical collage, a good mix is a love letter, to be kept, revisited, cherished.


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