I have a number of friends who are really good at making mix tapes, now iPod playlists. Over the years, I have treasured their gifts, and dearly longed to reciprocate. Unfortunately, I am possibly the world's worst playlist/mixtape/CD creator. I think I once managed to successfully create a CD for a boyfriend that I thought was really good. I would bet a lot of money that he not only no longer has the CD, but doesn't even remember getting it.

So I solicit your advice: what are the rules for making a great mix? Feel free also to list the contents of your own favorite mix.

Bonus music note: Silent Movie by Quiet Village is a terrible, terrible album. It is not the worst thing I have ever heard, a title I reserve for the screechings of Mariah Carey. But I have yet to discern a single redeeming feature, even though I rather like the sound of chirping birds. The friend who persuaded me to waste valuable eMusic credits downloading the thing is definitely not getting a mixtape any time soon.

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