The Cool New Music Chronicles: The Cool New Music Tape II



The dates given for these tapes are not exact, but this one followed closely on the heels of the original. By the time this tape was made, Katie and I were an item, and things were really hopping for me. I was spending pretty much all my free time with her, of course, and the friends we had in common: Michael, Charlyn, Liz, and a couple of others. Since none of these people went to my school, we communicated to each other through a complicated system of notes. I’d write notes to Katie, Charlyn, and Liz (who all went to Ursuline Academy) and bring them over to Michael. Liz lived two blocks over from him, so they’d exchange notes. She’d distribute the notes to the Ursuline crowd and bring back the responses. So each day at school I’d have this pile of notes to read and respond to. I still have most of them.

I felt at this time a little like Clark Kent at my school. At Riverdale I wasn’t much of anyone, but little did they know I had this secret other life filled with excitement. Oh and exciting it was, especially after Michael moved out of his house with no place to go and ended up staying at Katie’s house. The story of what resulted there is far too bizarre, long, and unbelievable to be recounted here.

I say that I wasn’t much of anyone at high school, but there was a weird thing that went on around this time. I was in the “Gifted and Talented” program (because, as is evident, I am fantastically gifted) and thus was one of the geeks. No problem, I’d been a geek for most of my life, so this wasn’t anything I wasn’t used to. When I was at school I hung out with the other GT nerds. We were a little island of misfit toys, brought together largely because no one else would have us. However, at some point during senior year, the cool crowd suddenly wanted to hang with some of us. I was wary of all of this, and didn’t really need it anyway, since as I say, I had this whole other life going on. (Some of my friends, however, jumped at this opportunity.)

However, I should say that some of the people in high school who I sort of overlooked, I eventually came to realize (many years later) were actually the most interesting people I knew at the time. Theirs were friendships I should have nurtured. And I was surrounded by people like Kerry, Glenn, and a couple others, who I now know had far better taste in music than I did and I should have listened to.

  1. Sting – If You Love Somebody Set Them Free
  2. Depeche Mode – Shake the Disease
  3. Til Tuesday – Voices Carry
  4. Icehouse – Sister
  5. Ultravox – New Europeans
  6. Asia – Don’t Cry
  7. Suicidal Tendencies – Institutionalized
  8. Talking Heads – Road To Nowhere
  9. Depeche Mode – Ice Machine (live)
  10. Laura Branigan – Self-Control
  11. Wang Chung – Fire In The Twilight
  1. blank – ==blank==
  2. Nena – 99 Red Balloons
  3. Sting – Russians
  4. Suzanne Vega – Marlene on the Wall
  5. Depeche Mode – See You
  6. The Boomtown Rats – I Don’t Like Mondays
  7. Violent Femmes – Prove My Love
  8. Icehouse – Can’t Help Myself
  9. Kraftwerk – Spacelab
  10. Kim Wilde – Kids In America
  11. Chris DeBurgh – Don’t Pay The Ferryman
  12. Elizabeth Daily – Waiting
  13. Wendy Carlos – The Wedding March

Where to start? Despite the fact that I’m not much of an outside person, I’ve always been affected by the change in seasons. During winter I often become even more withdrawn than usual. As a result, the music I listen to becomes somewhat more downbeat, as evidenced by a lot of this tape. Since I picked everything on this tape and wasn’t just cobbling something together this time, I put more thought into it. One thing I like about tapes is that, as with records, they have four important spots – the beginning and end of each side. So I tried to pick stuff that opened and closed each side well. I made this one a little after the first and for a long time I didn’t like it much, but I think there’s some good stuff on it. There are also some weirdo picks.

  • Sting – If You Love Somebody Set Them Free
  • Sting – Russians

Yeah, Sting. But you know what? I still love “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free” and I don’t care who knows it. In fact, Sting, touring for this album, was the second concert I went to in my life (the first being Styx, for Kilroy Was Here. Yeah, like YOUR first concert was something amazing.)

  • Depeche Mode – Shake the Disease
  • Depeche Mode – Ice Machine (live)
  • Depeche Mode – See You

Did I mention I liked me some Depeche Mode in the day? They’re still getting three slots here. That live version of “Ice Machine” was a B-side on the “Blasphemous Rumours” 12″ and when I was hunting down this stuff on mp3 in 2001 it was a bitch to find this exact version. Since then, however, it’s popped up much easier.

  • Til Tuesday – Voices Carry

True fact: when I first head this song I thought she was singing “boys are scary”.

  • Icehouse – Sister
  • Icehouse – Can’t Help Myself

Icehouse gets two slots here why? Because they had two slots on the first one, I guess. The latter song is okay, but I absolutely love “Sister”.

  • Ultravox – New Europeans
  • Suzanne Vega – Marlene on the Wall
  • The Boomtown Rats – I Don’t Like Mondays

Nothing particularly special here, just some continuations from the first tape.

  • Asia – Don’t Cry
  • Laura Branigan – Self-Control

Okay, I can feel you all raising your eyebrows at these two. Let me explain. “Don’t Cry” I’ve gone round and round with. At first I considered it a guilty pleasure. Then it was a bit of an embarrassment. But now that I’m older and uncool and have no one to impress anymore, I’m back to loving it. Here’s the thing: underneath the overblown production there’s a great power-pop gem in there. One of these young turk bands should excavate it and give it a nice jangly guitar treatment. As for Laura Branigan, this honestly was put on as a joke, though I don’t remember what prompted it. I had Self Control on cassette, which I remember someone giving me because I was claiming to absolutely love Laura Branigan, but the rest is hazy. Still, tell me you don’t like this song and I’ll call you a liar.

  • Suicidal Tendencies – Institutionalized
  • Violent Femmes – Prove My Love

Yes! I was a PUNK ROCKER. Actually, Katie and her friends introduced me to the Violent Femmes and to this day “Prove My Love” is one of my all-time favorite songs. And the other half of my punk collection was the Repo Man soundtrack, on which “Institutionalized” is found. Okay, so maybe I wasn’t quite the punk rocker, but considering that the other musical path I could have taken was paved with Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, I think I should get a tiny atom of credit for at least faking my way down this route instead. Incidentally, my copy of this tape has a glitch on it at the end of “Institutionalized” where I guess I hit “record” once by mistake. “Doesn’t matter, I ka-runk-a-chunk (drums roll out).”

  • Talking Heads – Road To Nowhere


  • Wang Chung – Fire In The Twilight
  • Elizabeth Daily – Waiting

Two more tracks from the Breakfast Club soundtrack. These are pretty good tunes, though. And I would walk over a mile of pristine 1986-era Madonnas to get to one Elizabeth Daily who is three days into a seven-day flu.

  • Nena – 99 Red Balloons
  • Kim Wilde – Kids In America
  • Chris DeBurgh – Don’t Pay The Ferryman

These were the days when MTV not only played music videos, they played songs like this!

  • Kraftwerk – Spacelab

As much as I loved Kraftwerk, they posed a problem for me. Their best stuff is, for the most part, instrumental. For some reason I didn’t want to put instrumental stuff on the tapes, so this is the last Kraftwerk song you get. That there’s a damn shame.

  • Wendy Carlos – The Wedding March

This was before I used SCIENCE! to plot these tapes down to the second, so after I finished, I found out I had a wee bit of blank tape left. I listened to a fair amount of Walter-slash-Wendy Carlos (naturally), and loved this little bit, so I was delighted to find that it fit perfectly in the spot. The cardboard liner for the Maxell tapes had lines for 11 songs per side and heaven knows I couldn’t have just ONE track be on the obverse of the label, so this twelfth track remained a sort of “hidden track”. Get me, I anticipated the CD! In 2001, this track was impossible to find on mp3. Fortunately, this is no longer the case.

It’s a sequel to the original!

Click on the player below to listen to this mix!

(xspf player courtesy Lacy Morrow and Fabricio Zuardi.)

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2 Responses to The Cool New Music Chronicles: The Cool New Music Tape II

  1. Blasterhappy says:

    The 1st store bought cassette I ever bought was Asia – Alpha and Michael Jackson – Thriller. I always liked Sting’s Russians. Really nice well written track.

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