Saturday, February 9, 2013

I'm Going to Degoba (or to Detroit)

<special note> A couple of years ago, we moved my library from the third floor to the first.  Obviously, part of that move was the items in my desk.  I didn't really remember actually taking these three tapes to work with me, but recently I've been shifting things again to a new desk, and I came across the track listings.  As you can see, there's been some water damage... more accurately some tea damage, that I knocked over my tea while packing, and thought "who the hell would ever listen to these tapes again," threw the wet tapes away, but sentimentally kept the liners.  </note>

The first of these three "tapeless tapes" came about over a holiday break during our junior year of college.  Old enough that we all felt we had outgrown our small town, but still young enough to be stuck at home.  I distinctly remember sitting in Michael's car, on a street not that far from our high school, trying to figure out what the hell we were going to do that night.  Four of us, Michael, Good Eric, Yvette and myself.  I remember being in the back with Eric, I remember that it was Mike's mom's new car, one of the first with a digital speedometer, allowing us to make warp drive jokes.  I remember one of us asking where we should go, and Eric pulling the road atlas out and declaring that we'd set off for whatever city he opened it to.  Detroit!  he declared, Degoba! Michael countered.  We all laughed at what super cool nerds we were, and I'm fairly certain that though we were dreaming of different places in the universe, we ended up at Eat & Park for spaghetti.

Side A (Detroit):
kids in america (Kim Wilde - 1994 remix)
where the water's deep (Bonepony - 1995)
only wanna be with you (Hootie & the Blowfish - 1995)
shit towne (Live - 1994)
run around (Blues Traveler - 1994)
ants marching (Dave Matthews - 1994)
breakfast at tiffany's (Deep Blue Something - 1995)
send me on my way (Rusted Root - 1994)
madness (is all in the mind) (Madness - 1983)
circus envy (R.E.M. - 1994)
material girl (Madonna - 1984)

Side B (Degoba):
midnight train to georgia (Gladys Knight & the Pips - 1973)
cigarette (The Clarks -1994)
up on cripple creek (The Band - 1969)
vampires, mummies & the holy ghost (Jimmy Buffett - 1994)
dixie chicken (Little Feat - 1973)
train of love (The Clarks - 1991)
the weight (The Band - 1968)
fruitcakes (Jimmy Buffett - 1994)
but it's alright (Huey Lewis & The News - 1994)
squeeze box (The Who - 1974)

Much of this tape is stamped firmly in the "current hits of the mid-90s" but I can still see other influences floating around - Madness was definitely for Yvette, and I've always sworn that Material Girl was Madonna at her "singing along in the car like an idiot" finest.  Gladys Knight makes an appearance, as that song often does for me, and then the latter part of that tape really starts to show the influences of Matt's southern classic rock loving fraternity. I admit that I had to look up who sang Where the Water's Deep (Bonepony?  Bonepony.) and that I still have Deep Blue Something on my iPod (to Matt's mocking chagrin).  But more importantly than any one song, I think the large part of the reason that I kept this was sentiment.  The music isn't important - none of these songs have a single memory firmly tied to it - but it is as a whole the moment in time when I realized how lucky I was to have that group of friends.  High school was something we all struggled through, and college too, but to turn back to our little town and have kinship, that meant more than anything. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

all the way to jersey and back

The title of this tape is a reference to my affection for the Law & Order character Mike Logan and his romantic prowess.  In a 1991 episode, Logan and his partner have this exchange:

Logan:  "Hey, summer of ’82, I hacked part-time to pay tuition. Sometimes in the middle of the night, I’d get lonely, I’d park my cab in front of Janey Meyer’s house, leave the meter running, go inside, take care of business, pay the fare myself."
Cerreta:   "Which would amount to what, about $2, $3?"
Logan:   "Like going to Jersey and back!"

When I opened up the cassette box, I laughed to see that Side A is labeled New York -> Start the Meter and that Side B is labeled New Jersey -> (To hell with the real world, let's go to Paramus!).  I'm pretty sure that part in the parenthesis is a quote from The State.  (I'd have to check with the tape creator to be sure - Yvette, how does your memory serve?)  

baby i love you - natalie merchant - 1995
honeybee - tom petty - 1994
cabin down below - tom petty - 1994
natural one - the folk implosion - 1995
i love a man in a uniform - gang of four - 1982
it's a free world, baby - r.e.m. - 1993
creep - radiohead - 1992
pale blue eyes - velvet underground - 1969
let's dance - david bowie - 1983
god - tori amos - 1994
you got it - bonnie raitt - 1995
i'm sorry (baby can i hold you) - tracy chapman - 1988

detroit rock city - mighty mighty bosstones - 1994
one night in bangkok - murray head - 1984
major tom (coming home) - peter schilling - 1983
and we danced - the hooters - 1985
cum on feel the noise - quiet riot - 1983
your love - the outfield - 1986
ain't no mt. high enough - diana ross - 1970
into the mystic - van morrison - 1970
valotte - julian lennon - 1984
6'1" - liz phair - 1993
poison - alice cooper - 1989
honey don't think - grant lee buffalo - 1995
*secret bonus song* somethin' else - sid vicious - 1979

One of the most distinct memories I have of this mix centers around my senior year of college, and blaring Creep out of my stereo in the dorm.  No doubt on purpose, to annoy the hell out of my hall-mates; by that point I had grown tired of my conservative religious school and was acting out fairly regularly.  The only saving grace there was that my roommate went home every weekend or else she may have smothered me in my sleep. 

One day one of the younger girls, Alison, came by and asked to dub that song, so a good deed was done, I guess.  If you can count sharing Radiohead as a good deed.  Considering the biggest hit on our hall that year was Boot Scootin' Boogie, I would.  Alison's roommate, Mary, went through a blaring phase of her own that year, only with Barbara Streisand.  I clearly remember one afternoon, Alison stepping onto the hall and shouting "Christ Mary! It's like she LIVES with us."  I don't know about you, but I'd choose Thom Yorke over Brooks & Dunn or Babs, to this day. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

R.E.M. - Bigger Than God

For as long as I've known her, REM has been my best friend's favorite band.  As we progress through the tapes in this collection, it will become obvious that my taste has historically leaned more classic rock, and hers more alternative.  I admit I knew who REM were.  But I can't say that I was a fan.

I remember her telling me that one of the things she'd never forgive her mother for was not letting her attend the REM Green tour, under the claim that she was too young.  (That would have been 1988, so early teens.  I'm not a parent, you make that call.)  I also remember her being horrified at my lack of REM knowledge (my favorite band then, and still in my top five, was Queen), hence this mix.  She converted me.  The tape is dated fall of 1992, freshman year of college.  Early on in what would become four years of back and forth mailing of musical mixes.  

Eventually REM toured again.  We went together and saw the Monster tour (sadly Bill Berry's last) at what was then Starlake.  We even shelled out for seats instead of sitting on the lawn.  Seeing them live was astounding.  Stipe is one of the most charismatic showmen I've ever seen.  I remember leaning over to her at one point and shouting "I'd drink his kool-aid!!!"  They've toured a few times since then, we've gone together (dragging along husbands) as often as we can.  It's funny to think that all of those memories started with this tape.  

Wolves, Lower (Chronic Town - 1982)

Radio Free Europe (Murmur - 1983)
Moral Kiosk (Murmur - 1983)
Perfect Circle (Murmur - 1983)
So. Central Rain (Reckoning - 1984)
Feeling Gravity's Pull (Fables of the Reconstruction - 1985)
Can't Get There From Here (Fables of the Reconstruction - 1985)
Swan Swan H (Lifes Rich Pageant - 1986)
Begin the Begin (Lifes Rich Pageant - 1986)

I Believe (Lifes Rich Pageant - 1986)
Crazy (Dead Letter Office - 1987)

Burning Hell (Dead Letter Office - 1987)

Pale Blue Eyes (Dead Letter Office - 1987)
King of the Road (Dead Letter Office - 1987)
Exhuming McCarthy (Document - 1987)

Pop Song '89 (Green - 1988)
Get Up (Green - 1988)
Orange Crush (Green - 1988)
Turn You Inside Out (Green - 1988)
Half a World Away (Out of Time - 1991)
Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight (Automatic for the People - 1992)
Everybody Hurts (Automatic for the People - 1992)
Ignoreland (Automatic for the People - 1992)
II (The Lion Sleeps Tonight) (B-side, Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight - 1992)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

You must chill...

If I had to date this mix, I'd say that it is from the late 90s, after I moved in with Matt in Hoboken.  The inclusion of Sinatra's Summer Wind is the tip off - it is a song that stamps that moment of time, us living in his hometown.  Every time we'd eat at Johnny Rockets, it would be one of the two songs we'd play on the jukebox with our free nickels.  (The other being Springsteen's Glory Days.)

There is quite a bit of this mix that ended up as part of our wedding - Crazy Love was our first dance, and we asked the DJ to play Brandy as an inside joke with one of our groomsmen.  Summer Wind was also our bridal party dance, such that it was (our bridal party not being of equal pairings, so really just the people in our wedding dancing with partners).  

All wedding talk aside, this isn't a love song mix.  It was meant to be a set of songs to soothe the soul.  One of the most endearing things Matt has ever admitted is that he sings both Ooh Child and Lovely Day to himself when he's stressed.  The rest of the mix just flows around that. 

Crazy Love - Van Morrison (1970)

Summer Wind - Frank Sinatra (1966)
Shelter from the Storm - Bob Dylan (1975)
Seasons of Love - Rent Cast & Stevie Wonder (1996)
Ooh Child - Five Stairsteps (1970)
Lovely Day - Bill Withers (1977)
Brandy - Looking Glass (1972)
Somebody to Love - Queen (1976)
Rocket Man - Elton John (1972)
Midnight Train to Georgia - Gladys Knight & the Pips (1973)
Lost it in the Sun - The Gathering Field (1994)

Fun Facts -
1) I make a mean Pip.  Every time I sing along with one of Knight's songs, I'm always a Pip.  Woo woo!
2) I'm fairly certain that Lost it in the Sun was on this mix for this lyric:
I took a plane from Worcester back to Pittsburgh, admitting to myself even then that as much as I loved Hoboken, Pittsburgh would always be my home.  
3) The name of this mix tape comes from Say Anything.  Because John Cusack & Jeremy Piven have always made me happy.  


I Don't Need Him

The I Don't Need Him Mix (more subtly known as the I am soooo over that black-lunged son-of-a-bitch mix). HA!  Who was an angsty girl?
Here's where I admit that when I pulled this out of our box of tapes, I laughed loud and hard.  Mostly at my capability for such bitterness and then in embarrassment that I wasn't sure which black-lunged son-of-a-bitch this tape was about.  Then I looked at the songs, and instantly figured it out. 

There was this boy in my past, he repeatedly broke my heart.  It's a comfort to me now that I couldn't remember who this tape was about right off, but I fully admit that up until maybe ten years ago, he still would pop up in dreams (funny how subconscious works, whenever my brain needed a bad guy, there he'd be).  I have no idea when I made this tape, but I'm going to wager that it was in grad school, just after I washed my hands of him for the millionth and final time, just before I started my relationship with Matt. 

The third and fourth songs are specific to him.  These lyrics in particular:

But Anyway by Blues Traveler
I lied I told I love her - She did not care but anyway
I told her we'd still be friends - And she did not care but anyway
I tried last week to call her - She wasn't home but anyway

Jealousy by Natalie Merchant
Is she the sort - You've always thought - Could make you - What you're not?

Sometimes, tell me - While she's touching you - Just by mistake - Accidentally do you say my name?

Who me, bitter much?  HA!  Good times, good times.  I particularly like the segue of anger starting with Queen through the Femmes, and then the optimism of Madonna.  

Promises - Eric Clapton (1978)

Already Gone - The Eagles (1974)
But Anyway - Blues Traveler (1990)
Jealousy - Natalie Merchant (1996)
Too Many Fish in the Sea - The Commitments II (1992)
Think - Aretha Franklin (1968)
Penny on the Floor - The Clarks (1991)
Hit Me With Your Best Shot - Pat Benetar (1979)
Another One Bites the Dust - Queen (1980)
Every Little Bit Hurts - The Clash (1991)
Murder By Number - The Police (1983)
Kiss Off - The Violent Femmes (1983)
Express Yourself - Madonna (1989)

Matt says that he can envision me, driving around Oakland in my Shadow, this mix cranked, belting out my bitter girl angst.  I can almost remember that girl, and I'm glad she's long gone.