In the year between this tape and the previous, I had taken two night classes, one in Algebra and one in Trigonometry. And I really enjoyed them both. I tried to take a Calculus class in the mornings before work, but it was too difficult to do both. So I sat down and realized what I wanted to do was go back to school and get a math degree, for the purposes of becoming a math teacher.
I had never liked Math before. I had an English degree specifically so I could avoid Math. A succession of teachers in high school had convinced me I wasn’t any good at it (I failed Trig in high school.) It turned out I liked it and was good at it and wanted to help others avoid the trap I’d gotten into.
If you’re counting, in five years I had worked in four different jobs. I had never been completely satisfied in any of them. Some people know from the start what they want to do with their lives. Some people discover it later on. Some folks have no preference, and are satisfied with whatever they happen to come into. I’ve never known. I’ve never had that calling that lets you know what you want to do with your life. But here, in 1997, I wanted to be a math teacher.
So I quit Publication Services, which by that time I had grown to hate (once again, not the actual work, but the management’s attitude made it miserable), and went back to school. I started at Parkland College to get some basic things out of the way and realized at once how much I missed college. I really enjoyed being in school again and learning things.
Here’s where the story originally ended. Once I started back at school, time and money were at a premium. This is the last tape I made, and for a long time it was the final entry in the series that started back in 1985.
It’s no longer the end of the story, however.
Another long gap, but this time the results afterwards are considerably fresher. There’s not nearly as much coasting as there has been, and a whole lot of new faces. I originally ended on a high note.
- R.E.M. – Leave
New Adventures in Hi-Fi is probably the last worthwhile R.E.M. album and it still has a fair amount of dull stuff on it. But the good parts are really good, and this track is the best. It grabs and just doesn’t let go.
- Garbage – Only Happy When It Rains
My friend Brady wanted to pay Shirley Manson to beat him up.
- Mono Puff – Unsupervised, I Hit My Head
A side project for John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants, and there’s no mistaking that. This first album, Unsupervised, is light and fun. The followup, It’s Fun to Steal is a little denser and not quite as easy a listen, but still has moments. Worth checking out if you’re a fan, but then again, if you’re a fan, you probably already have.
- Luscious Jackson – Naked Eye
I like this song and I have wanted to love Fever In, Fever Out ever since I got it, but it just…misses. I don’t know how.
- Matthew Sweet – We’re the Same
- Toad The Wet Sprocket – Something’s Always Wrong
- Cracker – Nostalgia
- Foo Fighters – This Is a Call
- Belly – Red
- Veruca Salt – All Hail Me
- Oasis – Champagne Supernova
With the exception of Toad the Wet Sprocket, sounding VERY tired here, even the standbys are doing well. Three tracks into Kerosene Hat and I still haven’t touched “Low”, which tells you how good that album is. “Red” is an awesome song and just about anything I pulled off of King would be great.
- Cake – I Will Survive
- Patti Rothberg – Treat Me Like Dirt
- Fountains of Wayne – Leave The Biker
By this time The Planet had gone considerably downhill. Blues Traveller was the headliner there until that fateful day when I guess Eddie Vedder pulled the station manager out of a burning building, prompting their “all Pearl Jam” format. They literally played at least one Pearl Jam song per hour (sometimes they would mix it up with a little Temple of the Dog or Stone Temple Pilots.) Another radio station started up with the awful name of “The Web” and they played some pretty good stuff. That’s where I first heard these three bands. Fountains of Wayne and Cake (my first Cake song was actually “Italian Leather Sofa” which almost made it here instead) continue to be favorites of mine, while Patti’s album was okay, but not nearly as good as this standout track.
Soon they too weren’t that great and they were eventually bought out and turned into “Extreme Radio,” which meant no ovaries allowed.
- Weezer – Buddy Holly
I like the blue album fine enough, but I never would have thought Weezer would make it as far as they have.
- Suzanne Vega – Caramel
She sure do take her time, don’t she? Suzanne Vega’s Nine Objects of Desire is an album best described as “sumptuous” and this is a fantastic song.
- Lush – Ladykillers
Lush are back! Well, actually they never made it onto a tape despite my really liking Gala and Spooky. At this point they dropped the shoegaze and moved into straight-up pop territory, and this is a solid tune.
- They Might Be Giants – Till My Head Falls Off
Factory Showroom is not my favorite TMBG album, though it’s grown on me. It’s the point where I feel they really stopped experimenting as much and went from doing a variety of styles to doing a variety of parodies. The high points on this album are muted by a lot of really ho-hum songs.
- Depeche Mode – Barrel Of A Gun
This is not a good album. Little killer, LOTS of filler. It’s the beginning of the end for them.
- No Doubt – Don’t Speak
I know what you are thinking, but there is a REASON this song was overplayed. It’s really good. It’s a good tune, and it’s delivered perfectly. So suck it, haters.
- The Jesus and Mary Chain – My Girl
The end of the line for the JAMC, and it’s sad to see them go out on a chump note like this. Yeah, it’s unexpected, and yeah they do a decent job with it, but this is clearly me throwing them a bone, hoping the next album will be better. It wasn’t.
- The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – The Impression That I Get
As examples of the brief ska phase for radio go, I could have done a lot worse (for example, I could have included Reel Big Fish.) There’s nothing wrong with this song other than it being part of a short-term fad, which is no fault of its own.
- Bad Religion – Drunk Sincerity
I could listen to this song over and over, and I have.
- The Cardigans – Lovefool
I can do a pretty good impression of this one-hit wonder’s singer, but of course nobody knows who the hell I’m talking about these days.
- Nada Surf – Popular
A gimmicky song, but still a good one, and even though this particular album isn’t overly special, they would eventually go on to create some really solid stuff.
On the way back from Chicago ComiCon, a comic book convention, Chris was reading a copy of Champions #16 he had bought in which someone makes a smartass comment to Ghost Rider about his flaming skull head. The title is Ghost Rider’s response. We thought it was really funny. The picture on the front is that slightly edited panel. The picture on the back is a dog wearing a costume.
Click on the player below to listen to this mix!
(xspf player courtesy Lacy Morrow and Fabricio Zuardi.)