Mixtape Memories – Volume 10

After more than two years of searching, I finally found a box of mixtapes in my parents’ garage. These are mixtapes my dad made me as a kid, and they were my gateway into music. So I’ve been listening to them in the cassette deck of my Honda, and each week I’ll go through and share my opinions on the songs and my memories from the time I received them as gifts. I’ll try not to get too emotional.

Kip Untamed
Presented Christmas 1999*

*There’s technically no date on this, but I distinctly remember listening to this on my grandparents’ tape deck in Houston, where we went every Christmas back then, and these songs were all big throughout the summer of ’99.

1. M2M – “Don’t Say You Love Me”
2. Youngstown – “I’ll Be Your Everything”
3. Britney Spears – “(You Drive Me) Crazy”
4. Spice Girls – “Stop”
5. Will Smith feat. Dru Hill and Kool Moe Dee – “Wild Wild West”
6. Chumbawamba – “Tubthumping”
7. Cher – “Believe”
8. Jennifer Lopez – “If You Had My Love”
9. Sixpence None the Richer – “Kiss Me”
10. Jennifer Paige – “Crush”
11. Marshall Crenshaw – “There She Goes Again”
12. Michael Jackson – “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough”
13. Scritti Politti – “Perfect Way”
14. Backstreet Boys – “We Got it Goin’ On”
15. Smash Mouth – “All Star”

1. Danny Elfman – “The Simpsons (JFK Version)”
2. Santana feat. Rob Thomas – “Smooth”
3. Bruce Hornsby – “Great Divide”
4. Deep Purple – “Smoke on the Water”
5. Soul Asylum – “Misery”
6. Enrique Iglesias – “Bailamos”
7. Marc Anthony – “I Need to Know”
8. Sugar Ray – “Every Morning”
9. Smash Mouth – “Can’t Get Enough of You, Baby”
10. C+C Music Factory – “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)”
11. Deee-Lite – “Groove is in the Heart”
12. The Chemical Brothers – “Block Rockin’ Beats”
13. The B-52’s – “Radio Megamix”
14. Del Amitri – “Roll to Me”

I have a theory that the further removed you are from a pop song, the more likely you are to remember it fondly. While there are plenty of terrible pop songs, most of our detachment or dislike comes from the songs being overplayed. Britney Spears will not be remembered the same way Madonna or Whitney Houston will be, but I’ll be damned if “(You Drive Me) Crazy” isn’t still played years from now. It’s better than anything she did before “Toxic.” The Spice Girls, in retrospect, look like pop geniuses (or at least their writers and producers do) rather than an international embarrassment. And “Wild Wild West” remains one of the last examples of a song that actually described the plot of the movie and remains one of that disaster’s least horrifying missteps. And God bless the ’90s, when an anarchist band of Brits can storm the U.S. charts with anti-establishment lyrics that ended up becoming part of the establishment. Cher basically invented Top 40 EDM with “Believe,” whether you accept that theory or not. Ellie Goulding could release it today and it would absolutely be a hit. I’m not sad Sixpence None the Richer never hit it big, but Jennifer Paige’s “Crush” should have made her as big as Britney. And while none of these ’90s ingénues can hold a candle to Marshall Crenshaw or Michael Jackson, this side is all about them, as it ends with the most ’90s song of all time: “All Star.”

Although “Smooth” would give it a run for its money. My brain long led me to believe it was the “song of the summer,” despite not topping the charts until October 1999. Still, as Billboard notes, it’s the second most popular song of all time, behind only “The Twist.” I have always and will always love “Smooth,” even as I accept how ridiculous it is. A lot of my affection also comes from liking Matchbox Twenty a great deal, and generally not being a hater. If you’re gonna hate on someone, hate on Marc Anthony, whose “I Need to Know” has aged about as well as the swing revival. Sugar Ray was at the peak of its powers in 1999, and 14:59 (a reference to Andy Warhol’s “15 Minutes” line) remains a great pop album and “Every Morning” one of its best moments. I miss when songs like this could be Top 10 hits. Smash Mouth makes a return appearance, covering ? and the Mysterians’ “Can’t Get Enough of You, Baby.” It is impossible to understate how much I liked Smash Mouth in 1999 and 2000. Astro Lounge is a solid album so nah-nah, I can’t hear you. The rest of this side is very danceable, though it awkwardly ends with Del Amitri’s “Roll to Me,” another very ’90s moment. So I’ll leave you with this video of me dancing to arguably the ’90s best dance song.

Best Track on Side One: Marshall Crenshaw – “There She Goes Again”
Best Track on Side Two: Deee-Lite – “Groove is in the Heart”

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