Mixtape Memories – Volume 7

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 Unstoppable
Presented April 8, 1998

1. The Rembrandts – “I’ll Be There for You”
2. Smash Mouth – “Walkin’ on the Sun”
3. Robert Palmer – “Addicted to Love”
4. Spin Doctors – “Two Princes”
5. Frankie Goes to Hollywood – “Relax”
6. Art of Noise – “Peter Gunn”
7. R.E.M. – “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”
8. Ramones – “I Wanna Be Sedated”
9. Adam Ant – “Goody Two Shoes”
10. Dexy’s Midnight Runner – “Come On, Eileen”
11. The Flirts – “Jukebox (Don’t Put Another Dime)”
12. Modern English – “I Melt with You”
13. Madness – “Our House”
14. The Proclaimers – “(I’m Gonna Be) 500 Miles”
15. The Fixx – “One Thing Leads to Another”

1. Danny Elfman – “The Simpsons”
2. Bart Simpson – “Deep, Deep Trouble”
3. John Lurie – “Stink”
4. TLC – “Waterfalls”
5. Montell Jordan – “This is How We Do It”
6. Rednex – “Cotton Eye Joe”
7. Will Smith – “Men in Black”
8. T’Pau – “Heart and Soul”
9. The Bangles – “Manic Monday”
10. U2 – “Where the Streets Have No Name”
11. Shawn Colvin – “Sunny Came Home”
12. Sheryl Crow – “Every Day is a Winding Road”
13. Lisa Loeb – “I Do”
14. Shawn Colvin – “Nothin’ on Me”
15. Stray Cats – “Rock This Town”

I miss TV theme songs. I miss when TV theme songs could be among the most popular songs in the country. That’s why “I’ll Be There for You” will live on forever, just like Friends. The ’90s were a time to be alive. No ugly wars, an economy on the upswing and completely unchallenging music. “Two Princes” might be my favorite bad song of all time. Only in the ’90s could something so goofy be so popular. But this side is filled with ’80s staples, including Robert Palmer and the one Madness song that people in the U.S. actually know, plus a lot of tracks from the incomparable Valley Girl soundtrack. But it’s Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s nightmarish club hit “Relax” that people still dance to. (Or I at least I would imagine people would, considering I haven’t been to a club in ages.)

The theme song to the greatest TV show of all time kicks off Side Two, though I’d later dig little variations on the shows iconic opening. “Deep, Deep Trouble” represents the dark side of marketing. Songs written for the show, even if they’re weak, contain a wit that’s just completely absent on albums like The Simpsons Sing the Blues and the truly dreadful Yellow Album. Luckily, the ’90s are represented much better on Side Two, with TLC and Montell Jordan providing most of my dance tunes for a good chunk of the decade. Unfortunately, they’re followed by “Cotton Eye Joe,” which you could make a strong case as an even worse recording/phenomenon than the Macarena. The end of this tape is brought to you by the Lilith Fair. No artist better represents what America’s moms were listening to in the ’90s than Shawn Colvin, one of those artists who won a shit-ton of Grammys then all but disappeared. “Sunny Came Home” doesn’t make a lick of sense, but it’s still catchy in an out-of-left-field way. Even better is “Nothin’ on Me,” which sounds as if Colvin is Carole King’s daughter about to give birth to Ingrid Michaelson (even if this is technically impossible and is insulting to King to connect her Michaelson since there’s a league between King and Colvin and between Colvin and Michaelson). Just trust me.

Best Track on Side One: Frankie Goes to Hollywood – “Relax”
Best Track on Side Two: U2 – “Where the Streets Have No Name”

This entry was posted in Essays, Music and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.