Cassette tapes are something I very vaguely remember my mum having when I was a kid, but she always preferred CD and vinyl so they weren’t saved when we moved to different countries. It was only just before Christmas last year that my mum found out her old tape player and let me have it, and I’ve been loving getting to experience a new format of music! I thought I’d give a few reasons of why I’m enjoying tapes so much in a little blog post to see if I can convince anyone else to take a step back to the 90’s!
It’s a treasure hunt
Sure, you can find them on eBay or amazon and I’ve totally bought them from there too, but there are few things better than getting a sick Queen or Aerosmith tape for less than 50p in a charity shop or car boot sale. Not long after I first started collecting I managed to score a neat little tape box with about 15 tapes already in it for £3 at a car boot sale!
Physical media is nice
I don’t know about you, but my favourite albums seem even better when I can hold them in my hands. I want to see all the art work and the lyric sheet and be able to actually own my favourite albums in the most literal sense possible, and that’s what vinyl and tapes allow us to do. I’m not sure why I always skip CD’s out of that, maybe because I grew up when they were incredibly popular so they just don’t seem as special?
There are extras (!!!)
Be it fold out lyric sheets, fold out posters or little booklets, there’s more likely to be a cool little extra with a tape than there is with a CD or record, in my experience at least. I think that when physical purchases of music were the only type available musicians (or their management? Who ever it is that deals with this stuff!) had to put a bit more effort into considering what kind of ‘experience’ came with it in a way that we’re all much less concerned about today and I like that a lot.
You can find some weird shit
Whether it’s an indie band from Leeds that released one album in 1993, a weird ass recording from a radio station that only broadcast at 2AM on Wednesdays in 2002 or what sounds like a bad punk band rehearsing and no writing on the tape, once you start finding tapes in places like charity shops and antique stores, you’ll find some unique and odd stuff that you’d never find anywhere else. For some people, that might be a bit of a creepy turn off but it’s something I love and find really interesting. You will also find an ungodly amount of opera recordings for some reason if you have an experience anything similar to mine.
ASMR comfort noises
The hisses and buzzed and clicky buttons. Who doesn’t love the sounds that come with tape? It’s a much more immersive listening experience when you can feel the tape player vibrating slightly as it moves the tape, and you can hear that slight hiss under the music. I like being able to hear that it was really recorded, it hasn’t just been made on a computer and sent out into the wide world of the internet (though there’s 100% nothing wrong with that, it’s also awesome that making music is more accessible than ever and music made by individuals is becoming more and more common place!) but it really is musicians that have come together and created their own parts to go through the entire process and decades of being moved around and stored and whatever else to finally come into my possession. I just think it’s cool okay!
Has this post inspired you to dig out your old tapes or convince your parents to find theirs for you? I’d love to hear your opinions on tape down in the comments!