Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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"Cause It's a 1-9-8-7 on a. . ."

For a change of pace, I decided to put on a record I haven't heard at all in over a decade and one which I haven't heard in its entirety in over fifteen years. The music-label sampler was a new concept to me when I purchased Sire's Just Say Yes compilation back in my freshman year of college and I was taken in.

I remember buying it because my newfound fave Throwing Muses was on it, because there were tracks from Depeche Mode, The Smiths, and Echo & The Bunnymen, and because I felt I should become acquainted, belatedly, with The Replacements. My favorite track, though, turned out to be "Ya Ho" by James, an artist who laid low for several more years before becoming a modern-rock staple in the mid-1990s. It's amazing how differently the songs on the record have aged. Today the tracks from The Smiths and The Ramones sound as timeless to me as ever; Echo & The Bunnymen -- a late track, to be fair -- sounds too rooted in the sonic affectations of the 1980s; and Erasure falls somewhere in between. But I still like the songs from James and Throwing Muses best. "Young Manhood" from The Wild Swans" impressed me as never before. The Casual Gods' "Cherokee Chief" annoyed me as it always did. And Depeche Mode's nearly-ten-minute-long remix of "Never Let Me Down Again," which I was prepared to consign to the excessively 80s category, actually did a good job of rocking my world.

I'd never thought about the relationship between mix tapes and samplers much before, but now it seems significant. Last night and this morning, while I was driving around in Old Red -- finally back in action, thanks to my exertions of yesterday afternoon -- making sure the battery stays charged, I listened to a mix tape made for me by my best friend during the first part of my year as an exchange student, before I moved to Southern Germany -- Hans Eberhard Mohrl, are you out there? -- and was struck by the inclusion of three Housemartins tracks, all three of them at least somewhat Christian in orientation. Oh, and We've Got A Fuzzbox and We're Gonna Use It. Boy, do they bring back specific memories. There was plenty of good music in the mid-1980s, actually, even if it required a lot more excavation to find than is the case in this era of Pitchfork taste preferences. Here's hoping that the mid-2000s turn out to have the same political developments as the mid-1980s. We could use a little erosion in the Republican Party's principles, not to mention a repeat of Robert Bork's fate.

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