Mixtape Seduction 101

February 11, 2005

• 60 minutes is the ideal length
Assembling a mixtape is almost like directing a movie. You need an intro, atmosphere, action, drama, comic relief, a dressing up montage, a nightclub scene, a love scene, a climax, a cool down and outro—all in proper doses. You also need good taste in music—a sticking point that could make or break a relationship.

• Lead with something short and upbeat.
Nothing kills momentum than a long-ass, drawn-out song at the start. Avoid droning jazz pieces or jam bands. And if Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin” appears anywhere on the joint, prepare to be met with a restraining order.

• Don’t Show Off
Throw in some accessible pop but place it within a new context. You never know how cool it is to hear Debbie Gibson’s “Shake Your Love” next to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” until you actually commit. That said…

• Use Irony In Moderation.
You’ll regret putting “Shake Your Love” and “Beat It” next to each other when the lights are low. And fast forwarding during necking is a party foul.

• Variation.
That’s cool you’re a big H-Town fan. “Knockin’ the Boots” is the jam, no question. But to load the “A”-side with three H-Town songs and remixes on the “B” is just asking for trip to the circular file. Buy the H-Town CD for the boudoir but save the mix for driving or commuting. But by all means, include “Knockin’ the Boots.”

• Everyone likes surprises.
A good trick is to record short comedy bits between songs to break things up. If you can tie the thematic structure of the comedic bit to the next song, proceed to Advanced Baller status immediately.

• Drop in a Prince song.
DJs use Prince to segue from new wave sets to R&B to hip-hop and back again. Same principle applies here whether jumping from schmaltzy to smooth. Prince is timeless and shows class, taste and sensitivity. Plus, he makes girls lose their shit.

• Dress Up the J-Card
It’s a good way to score bonus points. An artsy fartsy J-card sticks out on a cluttered desk, the shoulder bag, and most importantly, among the Regular Joe tapes or CDs scattered about. Give it a good name and in a year you’ll be giggling about it at your wedding ceremony. In short: a J-card with just names and songs written in Bic = boring in bed. A J-card with found magazine clippings, glitter pen calligraphy and Pepe Le Pew stickers? Soundproof the room and reinforce the headboard.

• If the tape runs out before the song does, find a shorter song.
It’s simple courtesy. You wouldn’t leave a telephone message halfway done. Or an article partially typed without