You might not find a brand new car with a tape deck installed and maybe your fluorescent green Walkman who was both a friend and comrade during long family car rides won’t be trendy again – but don’t necessarily write off your old stack of dusty cassettes just yet. These babies might be back in town.
The resurgence of all things vintage and antique could have had something to do with the returning popularity of these tiny plastic squares; maybe it can be attributed to the aesthetic “cool” that’s part of the indie and hipster trend nowadays, where teenagers and young adults alike seem hell-bent on the look of “throw-back” items. Sure, it could be for show – but maybe, for those who also toil away at their record players each night, they’ll understand the appreciation of that crisp analog sound and nostalgic experience. The whirr of the cassette tape rolling, the comfort blanky of knowing your music isn’t “scratched”, the petty laborious task of throwing it on, fast-forwarding to your favourite song, and changing from side-A to side-B. I still have my old tape deck, and when I go to a garage sale – I generally skip the box of (probably) damaged CD’s, and take a look at what classic cassettes are on hand.
From a musician’s point of view – production of a tape is cheap. After accepting that the trend might stay underground (and consequently, so might your tunes), local musicians as of late have been seen pounding the pavement of their respective neighbourhoods – handing out the plastic bits by the dozen. The hilarity of tapes and the confusion of how they even work might be a huge drawing point for musicians – enough for people to go home, dig out the old piece of machinery and curiously press play. It’s a niche market of people willing to listen, but the point is, there are still people listening.
Pros of the Ol’ Tape:
1) Cassette recordings often aren’t over-produced like CDs, meaning there aren’t a lot of fancy effects – what you hear is what you get.
2) They make great decorations. Have some extra space on your living room shelf? Stagger-stack your colourful old tapes – they’re guaranteed to draw visitors over to check out the band names.
3) Go green! Keep recycling and trading these vintage sounds around, so that perfectly classic tunes don’t end up wasted in a landfill.
Cons of the Ol’ Tape:
In light of the cassette revival, I asked the nuts to share with me their favourite tape tunes from their Walkman-wearing, scrunchy-sporting, fanny-pack days. No judgement allowed.
Meghan: Ace of Base – The Sign
Can’t we just picture it? Little Meg – ponytail so tight, pants so high, shirt so tucked in… so curious to hear whether or not the protagonist in “All That She Wants” was going to have another infant.
Catherine: MuchMusic Dance Mix ’95
Gone are the days of sweet, seven year-old Catherine putting on innocent dance recitals in the living room to “Macarena” and “Saturday Night”. Years later, her dance crew crumps (impressively) for audiences while wearing a prison suit, handcuffs and a backwards hat that reads “Gangster”.
Kate: Alanis Morrisette – Jagged Little Pill
A true Saudi delinquent, apparently. Living in Saudi Arabia for six years, Kate connected with the heartbroken hardships of Alanis on “You Oughtta Know”, scowling at any potential toddler Saudi suitors who approached her on the compound.
Jess: No Doubt – Tragic Kingdom
My aspirations to be blonde and mildly tough (failed) obviously began at a young age. Watching a platinum, Gavin Rossdale-linked Gwen Stefani pounce around stage to “Spiderwebs” also spurred aspirations of having a six-pack – something which wasn’t achievable at the age of eight and realistically still isn’t today.
Kaylee: Read the comment section of this article, she tells us from Vegas all about her tapetastic upbringing!