Eighteen months passed between the last tape and this one, for a lot of reasons. Prior to getting married I had led an often solitary life, happily squirreled away in my room with my computer and my CDs. Naturally, this was no longer something I was doing so much of. My other previous method for taking in music was driving around in the car, which wasn’t as big an activity in the much smaller city I now lived in. There was also a simple logistical factor: in our new apartment, the CD player was in a separate room from the computer, so sitting down and listening to a CD like I had done before just didn’t happen that much. So I wasn’t listening to as much music as before, and hence wasn’t making tapes.
We were, however, spending a lot of time with our friends. I was still playing Magic a lot, as well as getting back into role-playing games some with Chris and Christine. Those two got married during that time, as did a few other couples we hung out with.
Getting more involved in this life came at the expense of our previous one. We hadn’t been gone from Baton Rouge for long, but as the people there graduated and dissipated throughout the country our connections to them got more and more thin. We occasionally saw Jeff when we went back to Louisiana, and Anna and Kurt we stayed in touch with, but others faded away. Trips back home were also more of a problem now. In addition to just being difficult to arrange and a tough 14-hour drive to make, my mom started to show increasing signs of Alzheimer’s, and was very hard to be around.
Things had improved for me at work, briefly, but soon PS was causing problems. I liked what I did, and I liked most of the people I directly worked with, but the management there was incredibly inept. Because of this, the place had a lot of good, talented, professional people, none of whom stayed for very long. Also, I saw no future for myself there, and I really wanted a plan for the future. Everyone around me had some career goal they were working towards — professor, doctor, lawyer — and I was still doing the kind of “first job out of college” stuff I should have already gotten away from. This was causing no small amount of stress for me.
At this point I started to notice that despite a lifelong hatred of all things mathematical, I was actually pretty good at math and liked it. So I decided to start taking some math classes at night. I had no idea at the time where this would lead.
The surprising thing about this tape is how, after an eighteen-month break, it doesn’t seem much different at all. Sure, a lot of the early-90s grunge and gloom is gone, but there’s some stuff here that I look at and go, “Huh? They’re STILL around?”
- Everclear – Santa Monica
I have to say, I didn’t care much for their other stuff, but I love this song, and it still grabs me to this day.
- Green Day – When I Come Around
While it’s possible that their role now as a “serious” band is a bit overstated, I would never have imagined that Green Day would still be putting out good stuff. Dookie is full of little pop gems like this, all wearing Doc Martens and pretending they regularly listen to Black Flag.
- R.E.M. – Crush With Eyeliner
- Velocity Girl – Pop Loser
- The Breeders – Divine Hammer
- Meat Puppets – Coming Down
- Matthew Sweet – Sick of Myself
- Veruca Salt – Number One Blind
- The Jesus and Mary Chain – Something I Can’t Have
- Toad The Wet Sprocket – Nanci
- Cracker – Movie Star
- Velvet Crush – Hold Me Up
- The Offspring – Self Esteem
Some of the holdovers from the previous tape. Admittedly, there’s some good stuff here, but I just have to wonder: a year and a half later I was still listening to The Offspring?
- Bad Religion – Stranger Than Fiction
Speaking of pseudopunk, I have no idea how I discovered this band, but I really dig this whole album, and the follow-up, The Gray Race isn’t bad either.
- Tracy Chapman – Give Me One Reason
Okay, so…not a bad song. And certainly not the dreariness of past stuff. But I had no idea at the time that this song would be such a crossover hit, allowing just about any radio station to play it into the ground, which they did. Plus, it’s about six miles long. Plus — and this is the real head-scratcher — between Bad Religion and the Foo Fighters?
- Foo Fighters – Big Me
I admit it, I have a weak spot for these guys. I realize they do a lot of very generic rawk, and that half of the first album I can’t listen to because all it is is screaming, but they’re just so affable!
- Peter Gabriel – Steam
The Gabe is back, Actually, he had come back in 1992, but I guess I didn’t get this album until four years later? I don’t know.
- Sponge – Molly
Was this song just a Midwestern thing, or was it big everywhere else too? It’s not a bad song but here’s the thing…I remember the album cover had candy corn all over it, and that’s kind of an appropriate image. You know how you eat candy corn and then suddenly you’re like, “Ugh! Why am I eating this?” Yeah.
- Counting Crows – Rain King
- Natalie Merchant – Wonder
I like 10,000 Maniacs, and I like this song and the other single off Natalie’s first solo album, but the rest of it just flies past my ears.
- Dusty Springfield – Son of a Preacher Man
Yes, from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. Dusty brings some class to the place, don’t you think?
- Björk – It’s Oh So Quiet
I’m not much of a Bjork fan, truth be told. A little of her goes a long way for me, But this is one of the most fun and charming songs ever done, and it’s helped out in a big way by a great video.
- Hindu Love Gods – Battleship Chains
Chris was a big Warren Zevon fan and I heard this over at his place. The Hindu Love Gods are Warren plus 3/4 of R.E.M., so it’s no surprise I took to them. This song is originally by the Georgia Satellites, remember them?
- They Might Be Giants – No One Knows My Plan
They Might Be Giants make another sporadic appearance. I don’t know why they weren’t a regular staple.
- Bush – Everything Zen
I don’t think so.
- Belly – Now They’ll Sleep
Everything Belly’s first album is, their second album is all that and more! King is one of my all-time favorite albums, and I love every single second of it. It kills me that I see it so often in used CD stores — how can anyone not love this album!? But if you don’t own it and have such a store in your area, buy it. You will not be disappointed.
- Jonathan Richman – Cappuccino Bar
Remember “When She Kisses Me?” from Up All Night, Talking, back in 1992? This is from that same album. I like the song, but why is it here? I have no idea.
- Oasis – Don’t Look Back In Anger
I know that right now it’s very fashionable to not only not like Oasis but to never have liked Oasis, but I’m here to say: I liked and still like Oasis. I have no problem with bands who wear their influences loudly on their sleeves, and I think they put out some great pop music.
The title came from the cartoon “The Tick” which we were big fans of. It is spoken by The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight and it contains True Wisdom. I am very proud of the cover for this one. I took a bunch of clip art and turned it into what I think is a quite nice collage!
Click on the player below to listen to this mix!
(xspf player courtesy Lacy Morrow and Fabricio Zuardi.)