A big hello to you fans of ye olde Mix Six. As you know, I was away on some R&R. Pinch hitter Jack Feerick took over the mixing duties so I wouldn’t have one of those “Oh shit!” moments on my vacation where I completely forgot my deadline and flaked on posting. Thanks again, Jack!
Okay, on with today’s mix. I remembered that my wife liked the Outfield back in the day, and I downloaded “Play Deep” so she could sing along to those somewhat long forgotten ’80s gems. After listening to that album a few times this weekend, I started thinking back to my salad days in radio when I was just starting out on the air. It was the mid-’80s and, let’s be frank, it was a rather amusing time in music. I was working weekends at a Top 40 station, and these songs were played over and over and over and over and over in any given shift. It got to the point where I couldn’t really listen to these songs for years after I left that gig. But time heals all wounds, right? So here we go with a trip down memory lane for yours truly.
“Your Love,” the Outfield
How could I not start the mix with this top of the hour cooker! Since I’ve been listening to this album for a few days now (and how many of you out there actually do that these days?), I started to think of ways of weaving “Josie” into everyone of their songs. Try it! It’s not as hard as you think.
“Heart and Soul,” T’Pau
And who says white chicks can’t rap? And yeah, If you’re a Star Trek fan you know that they took their name from a Vulcan character in the TV episode, “Amok Time.” However, if you’re truly a Star Trek fan, you take the bad with the good, and may also know that lead singer Carol Decker shares the same last name as Commander William Decker from the crap-fest that was Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
“Living in a Box,” Living in a Box
I blame Wang Chung for this one. It must have been the success of “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” that caused someone in Living in a Box to snap their fingers and say, “Hey, why don’t we do something like that? DJs are going to have to say our name twice when they talk about our song, so why not!” You know what? It worked … for five months.
“C’est la Vie,” Robbie Nevil
These days, Robbie is enjoying his residual checks for tunes he penned on the High School Musical soundtrack and Hannah Montana. But really, when Robbie looks in the mirror these days, he knows it’s a soulless transaction. What he really wants is to relive the days when the soulless transactions were due to songs he wrote and sang! Oh, and when I was playing this back in the day, there was a note on the cart that said, “Watch out! False ending — a la the Beatles.” And yeah, I’ve included the false ending so you can hear how Robbie, in his infinite jesting, wanted DJs around the country to crap themselves with the thought of dead air as this song was fading out for the first time.
“Misfit,” Curiosity Killed the Cat
Imagine, if you will, a time and place where the cool kids listened to Depeche Mode. Got it in your mind? Now let me take you to an alternate reality where a bunch of corporate suits are listening to a demo of Curiosity’s “Misfit,” and saying to themselves, “Hey, you think the mallrats will go for this pop version of ‘mope rock’?” These two realities collide and, happily/ultimately, the cool kids win and the mallrats fall for Tiffany.
“Breakout,” Swing Out Sister
Copycats abound in the world of music. With the success of Sade in the early ’80s, it was only a matter of time before someone or some group rolled out a slightly different version of her jazz/pop (or maybe pop/jazz?) tunes. Enter Swing Out Sister, who had style over substance written all over them — and so did I, for that matter. That’s probably why I really enjoyed this album for the faux sophistication it engendered in my callow soul.