The Cool New Music Chronicles: Planet of Sound

PLANET OF SOUND (1998-2000, part two)


This is the second of three mixes pretending to have been made between 1997 and 2001. This one is a sort of tribute to the Planet, but I’ll get to that aspect of it later.

My new goal of becoming a high school math teacher took me to Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal. (For those keeping score, this is the fifth college I’ve attended.) This was an hour drive away, which I was making near-daily there and back. I did meet a guy named Scott who I carpooled with, but still this commute was taxing.

Academically, I was doing well — perfect, even — and any issues I had were more from being an older, more serious student than my colleagues. It shocked me to see how easy it was to become a bad high school teacher. I was also shocked at the disdain for which supposed professional education professors held the entire subject of Math.

Eventually I began my actual student teaching at Blue Ridge High School in Farmer City, Illinois. The experience was one of the worst of my life. It wasn’t the kids’ fault; they were kids. I was simply not the right person for this task. I was even prepared to go ahead and quit, taking whatever penalty would result, as I hated the job so much, but I ultimately stuck it out.

Meanwhile, all of this was putting stress on things at home. Becky was going through a difficult time with her studies, and my situation made things worse. It was a bit of touch and go for a while there. However, shortly after my student teaching ended I also went on antidepressants, which I had never tried, despite wrestling with depression all my life. It was also at this point that we lost Spud, the Chihuahua I had grown up with who we had taken ownership of from my folks when we got married. He succumbed to organ failure. Not long afterwards we got Beebo who, I am ashamed to admit, I really didn’t get along with at first.

My professors at ISU were happy to let me into the graduate Math program there, but there was just no way we could do it financially. Instead of continuing on that route I worked for a temp agency while I figured out what to do next.

  1. Butthole Surfers – Pepper
  2. Manic Street Preachers – La Tristessa Durera (Scream to a Sigh)
  3. Econoline Crush – All That You Are
  4. Heather Nova – Walk this World
  5. Portishead – Sour Times
  6. Phish – Down With Disease
  7. Duncan Sheik – Barely Breathing
  8. The Rentals – Friends of P
  9. Dramarama – Work For Food
  10. Primitive Radio Gods – Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth…
  11. Stabbing Westward – Save Yourself
  12. Folk Implosion – Natural One
  13. Shawn Colvin – Sunny Came Home
  14. Loreena McKennitt – The Mummer’s Dance
  1. The Charlatans – Can’t Get Out of Bed
  2. Republica – Ready To Go
  3. Magnapop – Slowly, Slowly
  4. Love Spit Love – Am I Wrong
  5. Big Head Todd and the Monsters – Bittersweet
  6. Freedy Johnston – Bad Reputation
  7. Donna Lewis – I Love You Always Forever
  8. Beck – Loser
  9. Prodigy – Firestarter
  10. Luscious Jackson – Ladyfingers
  11. Rancid – Time Bomb
  12. Stereo MCs – Connected
  13. Smashing Pumpkins – 1979
  14. Mazzy Star – Fade Into You

I’ve given The Planet, Champaign-Urbana’s “Modern Rock” station, a hard time over the last few entries, a lot of which is well deserved. They really did devolve into the 24/7 Pearl Jam Experience in a short period of time. But in between grunge hits they did occasionally play some different stuff, and I wanted to use this mix to spotlight some of the things first heard there.

  • Butthole Surfers – Pepper

I know that I was supposed to love the Surfers before this and hate this song, but I never really felt one way or the other about them. I like this song regardless of who’s doing it.

  • Manic Street Preachers – La Tristessa Durera (Scream to a Sigh)

There was another MSP song the Planet played a lot of, but I’m not sure what it was. This is the one I really dug, though, and I have a feeling I’d like more of these guys.

  • Econoline Crush – All That You Are

I find it hard to believe that there were that many one-song wonders floating around the airwaves, despite having grown up in the 80s. I suspect there was a single band putting this stuff out under a different name each time.

  • Heather Nova – Walk this World

I think she’s singing about S-E-X, folks.

  • Portishead – Sour Times

Genuinely creepy song, genuinely creepy video. This is a band I’m surprised I didn’t look more into.

  • Phish – Down With Disease

Ha! Yes, Phish! I had no idea at the time that they were this big stupid stoner jam band, I just liked the oddballness of the song, and still do.

  • Duncan Sheik – Barely Breathing

It’s true this one got overplayed and is a bit adult contemporary, but something about it appeals to me.

  • The Rentals – Friends of P

You couldn’t grow up listening to the Buggles and not like this song!

  • Dramarama – Work For Food

I liked Dramarama’s Vinyl album, but never got the follow-up, despite really liking this song off it.

  • Primitive Radio Gods – Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth…

Word on the street is that this album was horrible save for this one song.

  • Stabbing Westward – Save Yourself

Hahahaha…oh, my goodness.

  • Folk Implosion – Natural One

See, this is another song done by that band I was talking about earlier, using a different name.

  • Shawn Colvin – Sunny Came Home

I really like the contrast of the dark lyrics here with the whimsical melody. It kind of reminds me of Suzanne Vega.

  • Loreena McKennitt – The Mummer’s Dance

I find this song really creepy.

  • The Charlatans – Can’t Get Out of Bed

More Charlatans, whose album Some Friendly I enjoyed. Except here they sound more like That Band again, with another name change.

  • Republica – Ready To Go

I effin’ love this song.

  • Magnapop – Slowly, Slowly

You’re forgiven if you thought for a moment you were listening to Veruca Salt. This came out about the same time as “Seether” and I got them mixed up at first. Just goes to show how two bands can start at the same point and one can go nowhere while the other one gets to the suburbs of nowhere.

  • Love Spit Love – Am I Wrong

The next project of Psychedelic Furs’ Richard Butler. In addition to this song, which I really like, their other notable song was the cover of “How Soon is Now” that served as the theme song for that show Charmed.

  • Big Head Todd and the Monsters – Bittersweet
  • Freedy Johnston – Bad Reputation

These songs both have a strange effect on me, the latter especially. I find them to be very haunting and to feel almost nostalgic, even though I’ve no actual memories associated with either of them. No other Freedy Johnston song I’ve heard has had any affect on me whatsoever, but this one grabs me in a way I just can’t explain.

  • Donna Lewis – I Love You Always Forever

I guess I should just chalk this up to a guilty pleasure. It’s saccharine and twee but I just love it for some reason.

  • Beck – Loser

Out of all these songs this is the one for which I actually owned (and still own) the album. This song really grabbed me, being so different from everything else, but it wasn’t until Odelay that I really jumped on the Beck train.

  • Prodigy – Firestarter

This is the late 90s in a nutshell, right here. The Matrix came out around this time, didn’t it?

  • Luscious Jackson – Ladyfingers

Another Luscious Jackson song. I tell you, I really wanted to get into them more than I was able to.

  • Rancid – Time Bomb

This and “Ruby Soho” were big hits and I liked both of them just enough, but I got the idea that these two songs were about all the Rancid I needed.

  • Stereo MCs – Connected

Oh look, it’s That Band again!

  • Smashing Pumpkins – 1979

Yes, it’s the only Pumpkins song to ever make the cut. I like a few songs of their okay, but they were always a band I found more irritating than anything. This song is more subtle than their other stuff and I think that’s why it alone really appeals to me.

  • Mazzy Star – Fade Into You

Come on, don’t you want to hear this song for the 447th time?

Not much to say about the title here; it’s pretty obvious. I do think the artwork I did is pretty nifty, no?

Click on the player below to listen to this mix!

(xspf player courtesy Lacy Morrow and Fabricio Zuardi.)

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One Response to The Cool New Music Chronicles: Planet of Sound

  1. tom says:

    A couple of albums ago, the bassist from the Manic Street Preachers said they were going for ‘elegaic pop’, which describes most of their best stuff post-Richey (a bit like Joy Division/New Order, with all the same connotations of hipness vs. pop brilliance)

    Here are what I think are their best ‘elegaic pop’ singles in chronological order:

    Roses In The Hospital –
    A Design for Life –
    If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next –
    Tsunami –
    The Love of Richard Nixon –
    Your Love Alone is Not Enough –