Have All the Tapes Gone?
Maybe I’m showing my age a bit, but I kind of miss having tape decks be standard equipment in cars. Now, you might think that this is something that disappeared in the mid to late 90s, around the time you stopped seeing cassette tapes for sale in Best Buy and Circuit City, but you would be wrong.
My second car – my first new car – was a 2004 Hyundai Accent, and because I was young and poor and still in college, I opted for the bottom of the line, though had to spring for the automatic transmission, as I never learned to drive a manual. And while I expected a CD player, considering that it was 2004, I got a tape deck.
And it was kind of awesome.
Now, I already had an iPod at this point, but very few stereo systems had a way of conveniently getting an MP3 player to broadcast in a car at the time. That is, unless you had one of those cassette tape adaptors that everyone I knew throughout high school used for their CD players.
At this point, you may be asking yourself why I’m lamenting the loss of the tape deck, since the majority of new vehicles have multiple ways of pumping MP3s through your stereo. Put simply, there’s a charm to tapes.
When I found an old cassette player, I started making mixes the old fashioned way, often leaving my iPod at home in favor of the analog crinkle of the magnetic tapes when I’d go on road trips. When everyone had a cassette deck in their cars, you could trust that giving someone a mixtape meant they could hear it when they were headed off to work or school, too. There’s a care that goes into tape-making that just isn’t the same with CDs and playlists.
I’m not saying that tape decks are for everyone, but I, for one, am a bit sad they’re gone. If you’re looking around for a gently-used Honda, don’t think of a tape deck as a turn-off. Think of it for what it is: character.