Duck! Again!!

DATE:

April 6, 1999

This date is highly debatable. It was probably earlier than this, perhaps mid-March of the same year. Not that this matters much, but I thought I would put that out there.

THE COVER:

IMG_6788

THE TRACKS:

SIDE A:

  • Underground – Ben Folds Five
  • This Lonely Place – Goldfinger
  • Waterfall – The Stone Roses
  • The Good Life – Weezer
  • Just Kiss Me – Harry Connick, Jr.
  • Tree – Sebadoh
  • Bright Yellow Gun – Throwing Muses
  • The Elephant – Dodgy
  • What? – A Tribe Called Quest
  • Monday – Wilco
  • Melanie Davis – Supergrass
  • No Surprises – Radiohead
  • The Grouch Chump – Green Day
  • Nice Guy Eddie – Sleeper
  • Can’t Get Out of Bed – The Charlatans UK

SIDE B:

  • Dire Tribe – Gomez
  • Pizza Cutter – Letters to Cleo
  • Turn – Travis
  • Lock, Step & Gone – Rancid
  • The Indigo Swing – Indigo Swing
  • Hat and Feet – Fountains of Wayne
  • On Your Own – Blur
  • Soundtrack to Mary – Soul Coughing
  • Gepetto – Belly
  • Soul Driver – Ocean Colour Scene
  • The Magic Number – De La Soul
  • The King of Carrot Flowers Part 1 – Neutral Milk Hotel
  • Shower Your Love – Kula Shaker
  • Going Down Slow – Huey Lewis and the News
  • Headaches – Longpigs
  • American Girl – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  • Bonehead’s Bank Holiday – Oasis

THE LINER NOTES:

I now feel like we’ve turned a corner. This tape sounds different from the seven that came before it, even though I’m still repeating the same handful of bands and tracks. There’s more “new” coming in, even if some of it is only less-heard stuff from the old. And as I wrote about in the last post, this newness is being reflected in my life at the same time.

Now seven months into my post-post-college life in Boston, I was really feeling at home. My circle of friends had grown beyond my old college acquaintances, thanks to my job at Fidelity Investments. Having absolutely zero background in finance or economics, I started in an obvious position: customer service. The market was booming in 1999, so Fidelity had hired loads of people to man their phone lines. We were tasked with answering customers most basic questions, like giving a stock quote, reviewing their balances, and since the Internet was still young, aiding people in navigating Fidelity’s shiny new website. Between calls, there was time to chat and get to know folks.

Here I met Evan, Patricia, Max, Christina, Kate and Brent. Neil, Nassir, Jeremy and Fabiola. And scores of other people whose names I no longer recall. We were a friendly bunch, and they made the job worthwhile. (I mean, learning about stocks, trading and mutual funds was important stuff, but getting hip-hop birthday rhymes from Evan every year is something I hold a little more dear.) This group of people introduced me to “drinks after work,” which prior to this was something I had only seen on television. Before long, the actual job became secondary to the socializing.

I also met Daniele at Fidelity. And Daniele was trouble. Daniele was a coworker that I was attracted to, and we all know that being attracted to a coworker only leads to lawsuits and prison. Plus I was still in the middle of trying to figure things out with Melissa. So Daniele was trouble. Of course, we all need a little trouble in our lives now and again, so I flirted with her and hung out with her after work and soon we became friends. We would have lunch together. We would take breaks together. And eventually, I would start throwing parties at our place just to make sure I could invite her. But I could never pull the trigger when it came to asking her out. We were coworkers, after all. And dating a coworker only leads to HR reports and the eighth circle of hell.

THAT’S GREAT, BUT HOW’S THE MIX?:

Like I said, we’ve turned a corner. There’s new artists (new to me, anyway) and new song choices. Yes, three Super Ultra Mega Songs are also here– “Bonehead’s Bank Holiday,” “Going Down Slow,” and “The Magic Number”– but that’s why they’re Super Ultra Mega Songs.

Even with these repeats and familiar artists, the overall sound of this mix is fresh. Especially compared to the seven previous tapes full of safe choices. All of my tapes generally lean to the upbeat side, designed to keep pushing me through my commute, but here I’m fitting in quality tracks regardless of their tempo. The Stone Roses’ “Waterfall,” for instance.

Or the even mellower “Tree” from Sebadoh.

Both of these tracks are stellar. They lift you and float you through the four plus minutes you’re lucky enough to dedicate to them. On this mixtape, I was smart about dropping these more mild tracks in between the more upbeat fare. Radiohead’s “No Surprises,” and “Hat and Feet” from Fountains of Wayne are two more fine examples. And so is “Turn.”

Oh, yeah. Travis. I talked about my first time hearing Travis in an earlier post’s Pleased To Meet You section. As much as I loved their debut– Good Feeling– The Man Who floored me. You can chalk it up to “right place, right time,” but all those songs sank deep into my existence. It’s the album I’ve played the most. And Travis became my new favorite band, a title they hold to this day. I could go on, but there’s an entire Travis mix coming up six or seven tapes from now, so I’ll wait. But… oh, man. Travis.

Adding to the freshsness of this tape are some newer inclusions. I’ve backtracked a bit, picking up older albums from bands I’m just getting into. And tracks like “Soundtrack to Mary,” “Can’t Get Out of Bed” and “What?” represent that.

I was also branching out to B-sides with some British bands. Based on my experience with Oasis, I had the impression Brit bands put some effort into their B-sides. I found this to be true with Travis and Gomez, but not far beyond that. Still, I’m forever grateful I purchased Supergrass’s second album In It For the Money with a limited edition bonus CD included. Without it, I may never have heard “Melanie Davis.”

PLEASED TO MEET YOU:

I remember leafing through an issue of Q and reading a review of Dodgy’s singles collection Ace A’s and Killer B’s. The band had been around through my Britpop craze, but I never picked up an album. A collection of singles and B-sides seemed like a perfect place to start. It was a pricey purchase– a Newbury Comics import– and I had some buyer’s remorse as I returned to the basement apartment with that day’s purchases. I remember it clearly. I almost didn’t open up the packaging, thinking I might just return it. (Remember, this was before streaming music on the internet was the norm… and even if it had been, I didn’t yet have a computer of my own.) But I opened it up and put the disc in, hoping I would like what I heard.  The first track, “Every Single Day,” came through the speakers and I was at once relieved. I loved it. I listened to the whole album, which closed out with “The Elephant.”

WAIT. WHAT? WHY?:

There are two tracks (Green Day’s “Chump” and Neutral Milk Hotel’s “King of Carrot Flowers Part 1”) that transition into a second or continued song on their respective albums. I cut both of them off for inclusion on this mix and it sounds sloppy and kills the momentum of the song. For this, I apologize. But the biggest misstep here is including “American Girl.” This Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ track is a bona fide classic, which makes it stand out like a sore thumb amongst the rest of these little known songs.

THE SUPER ULTRA MEGA SONG:

Dodgy’s Britfolk vibe gets derided by some, but I love this band. I sometimes think of them as the British version of Fountains of Wayne. They write great power pop tunes and are having fun while they’re doing it. It doesn’t matter if some think it’s just bubblegum hippie goofiness. “The Elephant” starts out with simple percussion and an acoustic guitar, slowly layering on additional instruments and vocals until things build to a full-on, uplifting “La la la la, la la la” outro. Is it a love song? Is it an ode to the British Empire? Whatever it is, it makes me feel good, and that’s all that matters.

 

And here’s the Spotify playlist (minus some songs unavailable) if you’re into that sort of thing:

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One thought on “Duck! Again!!

  1. Pingback: Trick Candles | Super Ultra Mega Mix

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