Bonjour amis, bloggy! Lately, I’ve been feeling a little too structured in my mixes, so I just ventured into the CD vault/closet and picked six random CDs, put them on the kitchen table, and looked to see if these artists could make a good mix. Have a listen and let me know if this random grouping actually worked!

“7 Deadly Sins,” Simple Minds
Good News from the Next World

Sometimes called “U1” for their suspiciously similar sound to Bono’s band. But I think despite the comparison to U2, the fact of the matter is that Simple Minds have been recording some solid albums before and after their Breakfast Club soundtrack contribution. I bought this one on a whim in 1995 and wasn’t sorry by what I heard on this recording. “She’s a River” was the single that some radio stations were playing at the time, but this track stood out due in large part to Charlie Burchill’s soaring guitar work.

“The Cutter,” Echo and the Bunnymen

Ah, it’s like I’m in college all over again! Okay, even though this album came out in my senior year of high school, I didn’t know about Echo until my freshman year of college when I saw them in Berkeley, CA with the Fleshtones, Billy Bragg, and some other bands. They were pretentious, arty, and kind of boring after watching The Fleshtones. But when they launched into “The Cutter,” the crowd shed their goth affectations, and started dancing like they were on American Bandstand.

“Hash Pipe,” Weezer
Weezer (Green Album)

Love ’em, hate ’em, whatever; Weezer is one of those bands the inspires a great deal of devotion from their fans — which was something that seemed to be lacking during the late ’90s/early ’00s.

“Pretty Deep,” Tanya Donelly
Lovesongs for Underdogs

I loved Belly! I thought Donelly was a great front woman for the band, because her songs were melodic, her lyrics were a bit abstract, but the group could really rock! It all seemed like they were on the path to mainstream crossover, and then they broke up. Donelly went on to release three solo CDs, and this was the first single of her first solo album. Her music has mellowed since this CD was released, and I hope she returns to her rock roots very soon. Honestly, I don’t know how many more CDs I can take about parenthood from her.

“English Boy,” Pete Townshend

The CD that told part of the story of Townshend’s aborted Lifehouse project with The Who. The plot of this album centers on a Townshend-type character named “Ray High” whose days as a musical superstar have passed him by. His manager dreams up a scheme to lure Ray back into writing hit songs again by enlisting the help of a bitchy rock critic (Ruth) who can’t stand Ray or his music. She becomes the catalyst that spurs Ray to find his muse and eventually start recording his concept album called Grid Life. I rather liked this album, and it’s just too bad Townshend couldn’t find his muse when he started writing songs for The Who again. While I like some songs on Endless Wire, listening to the whole thing in one sitting is an exercise in devotion.

“(Believed You Were) Lucky,” ‘Til Tuesday
Everything’s Different Now

It’s too bad Aimee Mann stopped recording under the name ‘Til Tuesday. Why? Because with each successive solo album, her music has become more and more boring. This, however, is ‘Til Tuesday’s best CD. Mann’s songs of loving and loss are so well written that I swear I listened to this CD over and over for almost a year and never grew tired of it. This is the unedited single off the album. Wait until the end of the song to hear why …