Thursday, January 26, 2006

Music Reviews of My Past

So while I was at my parent's house over Christmas break, I picked up a bunch of my old cassette tapes that I had while in high school. Music that I thought at the time was THE BEST MUSIC OF ALL TIME.

Since returning to Ontario, and adding the cassettes to the Hot Rod for listening pleasure (I even bought a cassette tape box thing at the dollar store, who knew they still sold them?), I have since come to other conclusions about my early musical tastes. I'm now not quite so sure that the mid-90s were a good time for music.

So, without further adieu, I present to you some of my non-Christian cassette tape selections from 1993-1997-ish:

Joey Lawrence, Self-Titled: You may have known him from the tv show "Blossom" and the fact that he was famous for saying "Whoa!", but did you also know he sang? This was the first cassette I ever bought, I was 15 and was away from home by myself for the first time ever (well, besides summer camp and school field trips), in Ottawa for a youth conference. I went to a mall in Hull, Quebec, and bought this. The store sales guy spoke to me in French. I said "What?" and then he said in a very annoyed tone "DO YOU WANT A BAG?" Anyways, I loved this tape. I thought no one could ever top how good this tape was. My favourite song was the last one, "Read My Eyes," and I knew exactly how many seconds it took to rewind this song from the end so I could listen to it again. But now that it's over a decade later, I think that Joey a) rapped too much, and b) tried to be a little too cool. I was listening to the tape again for the first time in a good 9 years, and I kept waiting for the really good songs to come on and they didn't. None of them were that great.

Jamie Walters, Self-Titled: You might possibly remember him as the guy who played Donna's boyfriend, Ray Pruit, on Beverly Hills 90210, you know, the guy who beat Donna up. He sang too (I'm sensing a trend here). This tape was gold, it was so good. Sometime last fall I was shopping at Independent Grocers and I heard one of his songs on the loudspeaker, and I thought "Man, I wish I had that tape to listen to." And when I was driving back from the airport after getting back to Ontario after Christmas, I had actually put this tape into my carry-on backpack instead of in my suitcase like the rest of the tapes, so I could listen to it on the drive home. My favourite song was the last one on this tape too, "Perfect World." There was something about the early and mid-90s and people singing about the world.

Wet Wet Wet: They sang "Love is All Around" from the "Four Weddings and a Funeral" movie soundtrack, which was my favourite song for a good while. I bought their CD used on the weekend for $2. The rest of the songs are not nearly as good as my memory makes them out to be.

East 17, Walthamstow: I was like the only person in Canada to even know who East 17 were, let alone listen to their music. This made me very cool, or so I thought. I heard them on an international radio show that Q94fm had on once a week, and I really liked one of their songs that they had played. But I couldn't find any information on them (this was of course before the internet), or their cassettes, so I wrote the radio show a letter. And they read it on the air (and I crossed "international superstardom" off my list of life to-do's). And they sent me a home-made cassette of the song that I loved in 5 DIFFERENT VERSIONS. Sadly, I no longer have any idea where that tape is (but trust me, it's at my parents' house somewhere, because the reverse of it has a recording of them reading my letter and thus my proof of my short-lived international superstardom). I did however find a copy of this tape... and it is definitely, uh, I don't know how to say this politely, not very clean. What was I thinking? Besides the dirty songs, they sing a lot about saving the world and not losing your soul.

East 17, Steam
: After listening to Walthamstow, I haven't been able to bring myself to listen to this one.

I had a lot of Christian tapes too, if you grew up in youth group culture at the time you might recall (although I was unfortunately unable to find most of these tapes at my parents', I think due to the fact that they travelled with me to college and have since disappeared into college-moving-land:

Amy Grant, Heart in Motion: What youth-group-going-female didn't have this tape (or CD if they were RICH)? Wasn't her velvet dress sweet? I had one very similar for my grad photos in 1996.

Michael W. Smith, Change Your World: "Cross of Gold" was sooooo good. Remember that? I have a very distinct memory of listening to it on a WalkMan on the way home from a youth group trip to Oregon.

Michael W. Smith, The First Decade: This was one of the first Christian tapes I ever bought, and nicely gave me an introduction to the world of MWS. I loved "Kentucky Rose" and "Go West Young Man" was such a good life theme song. Or so I though. Somehow I always ended up going east.

Steven Curtis Chapman: Greatest Hits: I loved the photos in this tape-liner. Some of the songs were way too old-school for me though.

Steven Curtis Chapman, Heaven in the Real World
: I always had a problem with spelling out loud, so I never could figure out what they were spelling in the Bible camp song "I am a C-H, I am a C-H", or when SCC sang "He is the K-I-N-G of the J-U-N-G-L-E", so thank goodness the liner had lyrics. Sometime later in life I started deliberately trying to spell things out loud or in my head without visualizing the letters, and to this day whenever anyone says "pray" in my head I spell "P-R-A-W" (yes you read that right).

Jars of Clay, Self-Titled: I got this tape at a youth conference in grade 12 in Winnipeg I think. Geoff Moore and the Distance played there,as part of their "Home Run" tour. This album (Jars of Clay, not Geoff Moore and the Distance), is still one of my top favourites of all time.

dcTalk, Free at Last: Oh how I wish I still had this tape. Actually, it would be better yet to have the CD.

Okay, that's all I can remember. How about you? What were your favourites of the same time-period, or your high school days? (Hopefully someone else's would be more embarassing than a few of mine). ;)

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