Hear The Creak That Lets The Tale Begin

Around the time I graduated from college I began making mixtapes to send to my roommate James. As I believe I’ve noted before, the first one was called simply “Stuff,” and that word was weaved into the titles throughout the series, which ran roughly annually through 95. Contents usually came from relatively recent acquisitions, though I’m sure I dipped back for seconds when a disk really caught my attention. I know that he still has (most of) them; I’d love to take my boombox down to his house one of these years and remind myself what I’d thought worthy of his attention back then.

What I didn’t do much of between 88 and 91 was make mixtapes for myself. The biggest obstacle was that I didn’t own a tape deck that hooked into my CD player–I imagine I generally made the tapes for James when I went to my parents’. I also prevailed upon my officemate Paul some, and his house must be where Way Cool Stuff was recorded, sometime in the opening half of 91. It’s the first tape from the CD era I kept that captures some ways in which my tastes had diverged from Top 40 and even AOR radio.

As you can see, years of exposure to sunlight have taken a big toll on what I wrote on the sleeve back then:

That’s enough opening chatter–let’s play some tunes.

The Waterboys, “Fisherman’s Blues”
Kurt Wallinger’s departure may have allowed/pushed Mike Scott to move his band’s music in a more traditional direction. It could be that I bought this disk because of “World Party,” but this is the one that kept me coming back. The first of 3.5 title songs on this side of the tape.

U2, “Seconds”
Second song on the tape, second song on War–guess that’s all fitting enough. It’d be awfully hard for me to rank the songs on U2’s third album. The competition is mighty fierce; I really like this one, and it still might come in as low as sixth or seventh.

The B-52’s, “Song for a Future Generation”
I was aware of this prior to Cosmic Thing‘s breakout, but it was only afterward that I took the time to check out Whammy! from the Urbana Free Library to dub it onto a tape. Looking up the lyrics online for this writeup has given me a new perspective on the song: some sites indicate that most of the lines are questions and not declarative statements. I still like it a bunch, but do wonder if it would be just as good if they’d cut off the last thirty seconds or so.

Lori Carson, “Shelter”
Title song from a possible candidate for a future Forgotten Albums post. Carson came out of NYC/Long Island and spent a big chunk of the 90s in Anton Fier’s circle as a member of the Golden Palominos. This song/album is much more in the sensitive singer/songwriter vein; I find a lot of it pretty endearing.

Tears For Fears, “Sowing the Seeds of Love”
Only song on the tape to have made the Top 40.

Rickie Lee Jones, “Flying Cowboys”
Think I’d picked up this CD from Columbia House. “Satellites” was the putative single, but it was the title track that spoke to me most.

John Hiatt, “Real Fine Love”
While I like Slow Turning and Bring the Family better, Stolen Moments got plenty of play right after I bought it in 90. This is the opening track, one that I suspect does a pretty good job of describing Hiatt’s state of mind at the time.

Suzanne Vega, “Rusted Pipe”
I didn’t dig on Days of Open Hand nearly as much as either of Vega’s first two albums. This was one of the few songs from it to make a strong impression. “Rusted Pipe” was the other of Suzy V’s songs to get the re-mix treatment from DNA, though not with any of the success of their work on “Tom’s Diner.”

The Pretenders, “Message of Love”
Yes, Pretenders II is rather lacking in comparison to its predecessor (who doesn’t cringe at “Bad Boys Get Spanked” or “Jealous Dogs”?) It’s got some great tunes, though: “Day After Day,” the cover of “I Go To Sleep,” and two of my top five from Chrissie: “Talk of the Town” and the one we have here, “Message of Love.”

The Pursuit of Happiness, “When the Sky Comes Falling Down”
I spun up “I’m an Adult Now” back on my son’s 18th birthday, but here we’ve got one of my two favorite songs from Love Junk, this Canadian band’s debut disk. Solid pop rocker, with great female background vox to boot.

The Sundays, “I Won”
Reading, Writing and Arithmetic was a big favorite in the latter half of 90. “Here’s Where the Story Ends” is of course the main attraction, but “I Won” isn’t far behind.

The Smiths, “Panic”
As so often was the case, a pretty short song to end a side. Big, big fan of Louder Than Bombs; this highlight is one that John and I rocked out to many a time.

The A side was all essentially self-discovered; we’ll see Greg’s influences several times on the B side (there will also be a few repeats of songs already blogged). That’ll come your way sometime soon.

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