I am guessing that the year was probably 1998. Maybe 1999. If so, I was living in Rohnert Park, CA and splitting my time between classes at Santa Rosa Community College and Sonoma State University and Cost Plus World Market and my tutoring gig with AmeriCorps. I had a boyfriend who lived in the apartment next door. This mix tape was apparently a gift from him: Scrawled on the back of the cover it says “Happy B-DAY BABE”. Although, judging from the release dates of some of these songs, there is a chance that he sent me this tape for my birthday the following year after he had moved to New York and I had moved to Los Angeles.
Travis – Why Does it Always Rain on Me?
This song really made me want to move to a place like Portland. I wanted gray skies and coffee shops. I guess this album, The Man Who, was brand spanking new and may have (arguably) sparked my love of Britpop.
Brand Van 3000 [sic] – Drinking in LA
I must have listened to this in the car because it reminds me of driving around in my 1995 Pontiac Sunfire.
Jamiroquai – King for a Day
At about this time, everyone was talking about the Virtual Insanity video directed by Jonathan Glazier. You may remember . . . the one with all the weird dancing and sliding about. This band had an honest-to-god didgeridoo player.
Radiohead – Bishop’s Robes
I think that OK Computer had come out a year or two before and this band was suddenly THE band. I bought a copy of that album just before making the drive through a torrential downpour to visit my first boyfriend. A year or so later another boyfriend bought me a tape of The Bends at the flea market (just tape, no cover). I loved it. Radiohead kind of haunts the memories of this period of my life.
Cure – Maybe Someday
The Cure tried for a comeback. I wasn’t quite to my 1980’s music phase (that hit about a year later and I went to see them live at the Greek Theater in LA), so didn’t care too much.
Aimee Mann – Sugarcoated
I must not have listened to this one. I don’t think I took notice of Aimee Mann until later when Magnolia came out. Only then did I realize that she was ½ of ‘Til Tuesday. She used to play, with John Brion among others, at Largo which was a block over from my apartment in the Fairfax/Melrose neighborhood of LA where I lived about 2001-2002. It was at Largo that I saw Glen Phillips and he sang a song about Fred Meyer – it was the first time I had heard of the store chain.
Air – Playground Love
When Virgin Suicides came out this tune was all over the place all the time.
Foo Fighters – How I Miss You
Shrug. I will say that my one real experience with this band was when I attended a KROQ Christmas show and spent the duration of the Foo Fighters short set quietly choking on a soft pretzel. I barely had it under control, but lived to tell the tale. Phew.
Elliott Smith – Son of Sam
While I never quite got into Elliott Smith, I did go to one of his last shows. It was a terrible concert and he had no control over himself, the crowd, or his music. The opening band was Rilo Kiley. I tipped the bartender while she was looking the other way much to the embarrassment of my friend Julie. She had earlier tripped down the stairs much the embarrassment of me.
Unamerica – Mary’s Son
I could swear that I have never heard this song before. And don’t ever care to again. The fast forward button on my car tape player must have been very accurate.
Stone Temple Pilots – I Got You
Pixies – Mr. Grieves
I moved away to college owning a Pixies album, as that is an unspoken prerequisite, but had never listened to it. This was about the time that I listened and fell in love. I tried to see all the members of the band individually. David Lovering used to open for Frank Black and The Breeders by doing silly science tricks. A secret-ish Breeders show in Echo Park was one of the best shows I have ever been to. I never saw Joey Santiago. Thankfully years later, the band reunited and went on tour, so I got to check that off my list.
Tom Waits – Jockey Full of Bourbon
There used to be Tom Waits sightings in Petaluma, near where I lived around this time. I never saw him. Frankly, I can only handle his early stuff. His super gravelly voice, as heard on later albums, makes me a little sick to my stomach.
Violent Femmes – American Music
Again, this tape was made just prior to my 1980s music phase, but I do remember thinking it was catchy.
Soul Coughing – Circles
A handwritten note on the cover reads “serious face song” which I think refers to this silly stone faced dance that my boyfriend used to do whenever this song played. He thought it was funnier than it was. If I remember correctly Circles was on the radio all the time.
Joseph Arthur – Chemical
Dishwalla – The Thrill is Gone
No really? This band had another song. Huh. Zero recollection.
Pearl Jam – Up Here in My Tree
I am beginning to seriously doubt that I listened much to Side B.
Folk implosion – Jenny’s Theme
Van Morrison – [It’s All Over Now] Baby Blue [sic]
My mind was slightly blown upon the realization that Beck sampled this song for Jack Ass. Also that it is a Bob Dylan song and has been covered by everyone . . . twice.
John Scofield – Blackout
It’s almost as if the boyfriend didn’t even know me. Maybe this tape is the reason we are no longer together.
O’Jays – Love Train
I think the boyfriend really liked funk, a genre I can’t stand.
Unkle – Lonely Souls
I did like this song very much and am pretty sure that I transferred it to other mix tapes for other people.
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Road Trippin’
This tune may have been an homage to a Thanksgiving weekend (yes, weekend) road trip that the boyfriend and I had taken up through Portland, to Seattle, Vancouver B.C., and back. I met two brothers with the same names as my two brothers. They didn’t have a sister though.
I think the Mother-of-Pearl brooch is from a Lord of the Rings collection, so not exactly my style, but it has remained safely locked away in my jewelry box along with memories of a different time. Rhona and I have been friends since our Freshman years of high school. We keep in touch sporadically (at best) but still exchange gifts on various holidays. Friendships based on receiving presents in the mail is full of surprises.
I would never buy something so luxurious as sheepskin slippers for myself, but boy did I appreciate the heck out of them as a Christmas gift. I appreciated them until they were disgusting and dirty and worn out. And then I replaced them…making me someone who would buy something so luxurious as sheepskin slippers for myself.
Carissa gave up on the rain and moved to Mexico. She stayed there quite happily for some time. When she would come to visit, she always brought gifts. Carissa is the only person I know who would purposefully travel with a breakable painted squirrel. And I’m glad she did.
She recently moved to San Francisco. Didn’t take to it much and relocated to Santa Cruz, mere blocks to the beach. She commutes to The City, but doesn’t have to drive, so…there’s that.
I used to have more free time to dedicate to my first love: dressmaking. And so, years ago, I was asked to make a sweet seersucker dress for Brianna to wear to her wedding rehearsal dinner. The special touch she wanted was that the back would have a cutout of a heart. No problem, said I! She was cute as can be.
Brianna recently celebrated her 40th birthday and took herself to Paris. (For mine, I threw a dumb last-minute party. I’m doing it wrong.)
Update from Brianna: Received a response (via postcard) just one week later. That’s how we like to play.
Back when she had more time and fewer children, my friend Naomi would work on projects all year and then have a fun jewelry sale/show around the holidays. It was just a hobby, but she is very skilled. I was lucky enough to benefit when my birthday rolled around. Sidenote: I like color.
The postcard is from Sevilla, Italy. She and her husband have a special love for Italy and even live there for months at a time when life lets them do that.
This is a tape that I sent out as part of an organized tape exchange (March 2009). Look, I’m not saying I am the most clever person in the whole wide world, but I picked a theme (1984*) and a theme song to kick the tape off with (1984) and included two karaoke style tracks for a proper sing-along. I mean, that’s good. None of these songs are groundbreaking, so I wonder if the person on the receiving end was disappointed. But, gosh. A theme is so fun.
1984 ► David Bowie
Major Tom (Coming Home) ► Peter Schilling
99 Red Balloons ► Nena
People are People ► Depeche Mode
Wrapped Around Your Finger ► The Police
Hold Me Now ► You & the Thompson Twins
I have a picture, pinned to my wall. An image of you and of me and we’re laughing and loving it all. Look at our life now, tattered and torn. We fuss and we fight and delight in the tears that we cry until dawn. Hold me now, warm my heart, stay with me, let loving start (let loving start). You say I’m a dreamer, we’re two of a kind. Both of us searching for some perfect world we know we’ll never find. So perhaps I should leave here, yeah yeah go far away. But you know that there’s no where that I’d rather be than with you here today. [Chorus] You ask if I love you, well what can I say? You know that I do and if this is just one of those games that we play. So I’ll sing you a new song, please don’t cry anymore and then I’ll ask your forgiveness, though I don’t know just what I’m asking it for. [Chorus]
Love is a Battlefield ► Pat Benatar
Rock You Like a Hurricane ► The Scorpions
Sister Christian ► Night Ranger
Oh, Sherrie ► Steve Perry
The Longest Time ► Billy Joel
Seven Seas ► Echo and the Bunnymen
William, it was Really Nothing ► The Smiths
Don’t You (Forget About Me) ► Simple Minds & You
Hey, hey, hey, hey, ohhh . . . Won’t you come see about me? I’ll be alone, dancing you know it baby. Tell me your troubles and doubts. Giving me everything inside and out and Love’s strange so real in the dark. Think of the tender things that we were working on. Slow change may pull us apart. When the light gets into your heart, baby. Don’t You Forget About Me. Don’t, Don’t, Don’t, Don’t. Don’t You Forget About Me.. Will you stand above me? Look my way, never love me? Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling Down, down, down. Will you recognize me? Call my name or walk on by Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling down, down, down, down. Hey, hey, hey, hey, ohhhh . . . Don’t you try to pretend, it’s my feeling we’ll win in the end. I won’t harm you or touch your defenses: Vanity and security. Don’t you forget about me I’ll be alone, dancing you know it baby. Going to take you apart, I’ll put us back together at heart, baby. [Chorus] As you walk on by, will you call my name? As you walk on by will you call my name? When you walk away? Or will you walk away? Will you walk on by? Come on – call my name. Will you call my name? I say: La la la…
Magic ► Cars
So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry) ► R.E.M.**
Whistling Song ► Meat Puppets***
Michael Caine ► Madness
Skin Deep ► The Stranglers
She-Bop ► Cyndi Lauper
When Doves Cry ► Prince
What’s Love Got to Do With It ► Tina Turner
Lucky Star ►Madonna
*Not sure if every song is right on the money. I can’t recall if I used release dates or Billboard charts or what to decide what was a song of 1984.
**Isn’t it crazy that REM was doing their thing in the 80s? They were just their own cool-and-ahead-of-their-time sound.
*** Same for the Meat Puppets.