By any measure, mixtapes are always an exercise in nostalgia. In fact, whenever one of these milestone shows pop up and we start paddling the raft to Mixtape Island, we can't help but share stories about the time when we made a mix for someone, and all the ensuing nuances: the sequencing, those tracks that you'd since forgotten that stopped you cold in the moment, and lastly (but not unimportantly), how it went over.
It’s probably best that we’re not eighteen forever. Evidence to that effect: the simple mixtape doesn’t quite cut it for us anymore. For this show, we each picked a track from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s to get to know a little bit better, with curious results. If you think you know someone -- really know them – imagine what they’d add to a mixtape made especially for you. I guarantee the real thing will throw you curveballs.
Here’s to our first 100 episodes. And eye openers we can't yet fathom -
Round 1 - The 1970's
Hall & Oates - ”She's Gone”
So these dudes didn't want to do it like the record label suggested, so they got a couple recliners and a devil costume, smoked a bunch of weed...and we get this small miracle. -- Shane
Gilbert O'Sullivan - ”Alone Again, Naturally”
Bar none--the most depressing song ever recorded, Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Alone Again (Naturally)" nevertheless spent six weeks (non-consecutively!) at number one in Billboard's Hot 100 for the U.S. in 1972. Carried by a buoyant melody and just the most tragic lyrics ever committed to tape (seriously--check out the karaoke version online), this is truly a fascinating listen. Feel kinda bad that I didn't cede this one to Shane, as he has a bit of an obsession with this tune. --Ryan
Elvis Costello - "Watching The Detectives"
For a hot minute in the 70s all of London was agog over Reggae, and you can definitely hear some of that influence in Elvis Costello's "Watching The Detectives." Costello had yet to break, was living in a flat somewhere in London, and had been listening to The Clash for hours, which he initially hated, then grew to appreciate. And then, of course, he wrote "Watching The Detectives." The world is funny sometimes. --Kevin
Boomtown Rats - ”I Don't Like Mondays”
Although it only hit #73 in Billboard Hot 100 for 1979, “Mondays” found the number 1 spot in the UK, Ireland, and Australia that year. Proving once again that, as much as Americans like to claim their Irish heritage, unless it is green and can get them sloppy drunk they don’t really embrace things Irish. --Mark
Round 2 - The 1980's
The Beach Boys - ”Kokomo - Live”
This piece of shit was a number one hit for The Beach Boys, after which, they promptly stopped giving any more shits. There is a video from the 80's, but I highly suggest you go looking for the footage shot on an I-phone at their 50th anniversary show. Bonus! Whichever one you choose will have John Stamos in it. -- Shane
REM - ”Orange Crush”
Knowing that we we had a mandate to find these songs on a list-of-100 whatever, I managed to track down REM's 1988 genius-level video for "Orange Crush" at #53 of 100 on Billboard's 25th Anniversary of their Alternative chart. Lushly directed by artist Matt Mahurin (whose work hangs in various impressive galleries), this video stands as a one of those rare works that one could just pause at any given point, print, and have an excellent addition to one's home decor. Assuming, of course, that one were looking to accent the furniture with Vietnam War-era imagery or children's antics. --Ryan
Eddie Murphy - "Party All The Time"
If you've ever wondered what the height of fame looks like, take a couple of minutes of your day to watch the fawning mob hanging around the control room for Eddie Murphy's "Party All The Time" release. Rick James, who wrote the song, spends lots of time slowly pushing up the console volume (not sure how that helps, exactly) and the rest of the folks in the studio look equally eager to please and nervous that someone might find out that they're not supposed to be in there. Lots of head bobbing. --Kevin
Laid Back - ”White Horse”
The take-away for me from Laid Back’s “White Horse” is that there are really only two things you need to know: 1. The prerequisite for being rich is being a bitch; 2. When making the choice of achromatic equine transportation, the smaller stature of the pony is preferred. --Mark
Round 3 - The 1990's
Meatloaf - ”I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)”
Michael Bay. Beauty and the Beast. -- Shane
Aqua - ”Barbie Girl”
Earning the distinction of #8 on Everyhit.com's "Worst Songs of All Time," "Barbie Girl" (1997) by Denmark's Aqua somehow managed to beat out Billy Ray Cyrus's "Achy-Breaky Heart" by one slot, and that's some rarefied company. More inexplicably, this band sold 33 million records. Also, they were sued by Mattel (for obvious reasons), and the video is really stupid. You are welcome. --Ryan
Bel Biv Devoe - ”Poison”
The New Jack Swing movement occupies that tiny blip on the historical horizon after hair metal's last drummer had finished playing in the rain and before the world became awash in flannels, earnestness, and Grunge. This leaves New Jack perhaps feeling a little like a stopgap movement, but one not without its triumphs, chief among them Bell Biv Devoe's "Poison.” Listen for the dope beat. Watch the video for the outfits. Is there a blizzard about to happen in the inner city? --Kevin
The Bloodhound Gang - ”The Bad Touch”
Anytime my faith in humanity is on the up and up, I only need to turn to these sexist, racist ass-hats to be reminded not to take human-decency for granted. Luckily, this song never topped #52 of the Hot 100, but just the fact that it made it north of 100 gives me pause. --Mark*
Final Round - 2000's
Kanye West - ”Touch The Sky”
You can watch Kanye West in an amazing red white and blue jumpsuit try to jump a rocket over a canyon. Will he make it? -- Shane
LCD Soundsystem - ”Daft Punk Is Playing At My House”
Because Rolling Stone magazine had to make an appearance here eventually, the 'aughts list "100 Best Songs of the 2000's" (#78) has yielded us "Daft Punk is Playing at My House," which I love dearly, and Shane hates with equal zeal. I am incapable of not (at the very least) head-bobbing and singing along to this tune, even if at least one of my colleagues just doesn't get it. C'est la vie... --Ryan
Midlake - ”Roscoe”
Mark noted that it would have been nice to wrap up this show's proceedings with a listen of Midlake's "Roscoe.” That's not what happened, but that didn't keep us from soaking up the sunny vibes and yearning intent from Midlake's second release. For whatever reason, this track seems to bubble up with indie types every so often to reignite conversation. Easy to see why it pops up on top 100 lists of the 2000s. --Kevin
The Avalanches - ”Frontier Psychiatrist”
Sure… I wasn’t super confident in my ability to wrap the show with something the entire gang could latch onto. However, this video just does something to you when you watch it. Seemingly appearing out of a horrible Bavarian acid trip gone south, Australian group The Avalanches pantomime an amazing composition of samples from Canadian comedy duo Wayne and Shuster and a host of 60’s and 70’s music. In the end, we all walked away with smiles on our faces. --Mark
Our good friend Matt Muñoz is back and this time he takes over the show. Join us for both kinds of depressing songs from The Smiths' Louder Than Bombs.