Mixtape Memories – Volume 6

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 Unpredictable
Presented Christmas 1997

1. Hanson – “Mmm Bop”
2. Third Eye Blind – “Semi-Charmed Life” (Radio Edit)
3. Green Day – “Basket Case”
4. Alanis Morissette – “Ironic”
5. OMC – “How Bizarre”
6. New Order – “Bizarre Love Triangle”
7. Iggy Pop – “Real Wild Child”
8. ZZ Top – “Gimme All Your Loving”
9. R.E.M. – “Stand”
10. The Replacements – “Alex Chilton”
11. Madonna – “Vogue”
12. Cyndi Lauper – “She Bop”
13. The B-52’s – “Love Shack”
14. The Human League – “(Keep Feeling) Fascination”
15. Katrina and the Waves – “Walking on Sunshine”

1. Heatwave – “Boogie Nights”
2. KC and the Sunshine Band – “That’s the Way (I Like It)”
3. M.F.S.B. feat. The Three Degrees – “T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia)”
4. The J. Geils Band – “Land of a Thousand Dances”
5. The Bee Gees – “Stayin’ Alive”
6. The Knack – “My Sharona”
7. Ramones – “Blitzkrieg Bop”
8. Jesus Jones – “Right Here, Right Now”
9. Rocky Horror Picture Show Cast – “Time Warp”
10. Gary Glitter – “Rock and Roll, Part 2”
11. Kenny Loggins – “Footloose”
12. Eurythmics – “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”
13. The Buggles – “Video Killed the Radio Star”
14. The Jam – “Town Called Malice”
15. Wang Chung – “Dance Hall Days”

This is a serious candidate for the best tape I’ve ever gotten. Every single track is great or at least takes you back to a time and place or gets your blood pumping. It’s all pop and rock, so there are no questionable dance or hip-hop tracks. Side One features two of the best one-hit wonders of all time: Hanson and OMC. The former may still be consistently put out records, but nothing will ever touch their No. 1 hit, still the best nonsense song ever recorded (yes, better than The Beatles “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-dah”). I will go to bat for “How Bizarre” time and again because how else can you explain a New Zealand trio that seemed to come out of the ether in 1996 and then disappear just as quickly. “Bizarre Love Triangle” remains one of my favorite songs to this day, even if I didn’t really get into New Order until years later. Also, I may be the only kid to ever own any compilation that segues from The Replacements to “Vogue.” I mean, that’s maybe the craziest juxtaposition on any mixtape ever. I don’t even think this kid could have expected that. The rest of the tape is just cream of the crop ’80s dance music. Any of these songs would get me out on the dance floor, but “Love Shack” remains the best of the best.

Side Two is heavy on disco. In fact, the only song from the ’90s is Jesus Jones’s “Right Here, Right Now,” which is so ’90s it hurts. A lot of the first half is ultra-cheesy, but I’ve never been in the “Disco Sucks” camp. I had forgotten how awesome this J. Geils cover of “Land of a Thousand Dances” is. Their live output really emphasizes what a great band they were, which can get obscured by Freeze Frame, their most popular album. But this whole side continues the non-stop dance party that started at the end of the first side. Between “Time Warp” and “Footloose,” if you’re not dancing, you probably don’t have a pulse. But it’s the Jam’s “Town Called Malice” that really gets me moving. The Jam is one of the most underrated bands of all time and this is just a taste of the greatness they’re capable of. I’m gonna be listening to this one a lot, even after this project is over.

Best Track on Side One: New Order – “Bizarre Love Triangle”
Best Track on Side Two: The Jam – “Town Called Malice”

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