15 February 2008


October 1998: 120-minute cassette

01. Propellerheads feat. Shirley Bassey, “History Repeating”
02. Soul Coughing, “Circles”
03. Erasure, “Too Darn Hot”
04. The Kinks, “Apeman”
05. Tom Waits, “16 Shells From a Thirty-Ought Six”
06. Pulp, “Dishes”
07. Leonard Cohen, “Sisters of Mercy”
08. Meryn Cadell, “Window of Opportunity”
09. Saint Etienne, “Been So Long”
10. Jane Siberry, “See the Child”
11. Utah Phillips and Ani DiFranco, “Holding On”
12. The Darling Buds, “Do You Have to Break My Heart?”
13. Information Society, “A Knife and A Fork”
14. Everything But the Girl, “Mirrorball”
15. Liz Phair, “Polyester Bride”

16. The Jam, “Start!”
17. LaBelle, “Lady Marmalade”
18. Billie Holiday, “Comes Love”
19. Frank Sinatra, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”
20. Rosemary Clooney, “Mambo Italiano”
21. Keely Smith, “Don’t Take Your Love From Me”
22. Vince Guaraldi Trio, “Linus and Lucy”
23. Dionne Warwick, “Do You Know the Way to San Jose”
24. Pizzicato Five, “Fortune Cookie”
25. Annie Lennox, “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye”
26. Kirsty MacColl, “Angel”
27. Saint Etienne, “Hobart Paving”
28. XTC, “Earn Enough For Us”
29. Morcheeba, “Let Me See”
30. Indigo Girls, “Galileo”
31. Sam Phillips, “These Boots are Made For Walkin’”
32. Sheryl Crow, “My Favorite Mistake” (labeled “Mystery Flavor”)

Ah, I *heart* the ‘90s. I made this mix nearly a decade ago for a friend’s 23rd birthday (the same recipient of this and this) and revisited it when I made a CD version of it for her 32nd birthday a few months ago. Given I’ll be 32 for only a few more days, I thought I’d better write about it now.

I don’t think I’ve recently listened to any other mixes I made from that pre CD-burning, pre iPod era—in fact, this is one of the few from that time where I wrote down the track listing for my own records. Forgive me my nostalgia, but for all its detriments (fuzzy sound, analog sequencing, limited durability), I really miss mix tapes, especially the 120-minute ones: two neatly appropriated hours of song, as opposed to an arbitrarily determined 75-79 minute swath of time. Too bad most people no longer have anything to play them on (the main reason I “digitized” this mix for my friend).

The title, of course, is from an Ani DiFranco song, although her appearance here is limited to musical backing for a Utah Phillips monologue. Apart from the actual number of songs, there’s no running theme, except for a long stretch of pre-1975 tracks on Side Two that I don’t remember being intentional. As with most of my mixes, this is a perfect time capsule of what I was into then. Apparently, the soundtrack for my clove-smoking grad school years contained lots of Britpop, slightly quirky alt-rock, the BIG NIGHT soundtrack, and a few random selections, like “Sisters of Mercy” (I must’ve seen McCABE & MS. MILLER recently) and “Lady Marmalade” (a whole three years before the tacky MOULIN ROUGE remake).

Surprisingly, I’m not embarrassed by any of the selections I made as a 23-year-old; I doubt I could say the same for a mix I made at 18 or especially 13 (which would’ve consisted of songs taped off the radio). Before setting out to re-make it, I discovered I already had most of these songs on my iPod. Hearing it again, some of it actually seems more relevant today, particularly this apt lyric from Pulp’s beautifully world-weary “Dishes”:

A man told me to beware of 33
He said, “It was not an easy time for me”

but I'll get though
even though I've got no miracles to show you.

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