In the summer of 1999, I was 16 years old. I had my license, making my own money, had a cell phone. None of that sounds remotely special these days, especially when it’s pretty common to see a toddler with an iPhone. But the 90s were different. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna go all Wonder Years on you and share some sort of warm, sentimental story of teen angst and unrequited love. This is a music site and we only talk about music! (That and my teenage love-life would bore you to tears. Trust me.) Recently I was going through some old CDs (remember those?) and I found one that said July 1999 Mix.
Now you gotta remember, back in those days having the ability to make a mix CD was like having a superpower. Everyone had CDs but not everyone had a fancy computer with Napster and the ability to make custom mixes. I’m not entirely sure how I even acquired the CD, to be honest. I don’t remember making it so it was very possible someone put it together for me. One thing is for sure though, it was my tracklisting. I listened to a lot of stuff back then. Maybe just as much as now, so I rarely had people giving albums to check out. Odds are, I probably heard it. Oh and that isn’t bragging either. I was just as much as a snob then as I am now. Probably even snottier and less open-minded.
So being it’s 2019 and no one has a CD player anymore, I popped this sucker into my laptop and gave it a listen. The following is what was on there:
Track 1: “Don’t Want To Know If You’re Lonely” – Husker Du
Pretty eclectic for a 16-year-old to be rocking out to Husker Du right? Sure! But I remember hearing John Davis of Superdrag (my all-time favorite band) name drop them as an influence so they had to be good! Checking out the influences of your favorite bands is always a good way to discover new music. Especially the pre-internet days.
Track 2: “Am I Demon” – Danzig
What Aaron Cooper mix would be complete without at least a tiny dose of Glenn Danzig? This has always been one of my favorites. What more can be said about it? Well, apparently a few hundred words because I wrote a love letter to this album here at 50Thirdand3rd. Go check it out!
Track 3: “Alex Chilton” – The Replacements
A genius singing about another genius. Works for me! And before you get any ideas, yes I was well aware who Alex Chilton was. More on that later…
Track 4: “Ray Of Light” – Madonna
Yeah. This song was on there. What of it? In all seriousness, “Ray Of Light” was and always will be a banger.
Track 5: “Jean Genie” – David Bowie
Ask me what my favorite Bowie record is today and I’ll probably say Young Americans. But I guess teenage me preferred the rock n’ roll.
Track 6: “Can I Kick It” – A Tribe Called Quest
Not the best Tribe track by any means but you know I thought I was cool cruising around to this.
Track 7: “Generate” – Collective Soul
A mainstream rock band, but a deep cut. I haven’t heard this song in years and it still holds up. Well, sorta.
Track 8: “Insomniac” – Echobelly
Yeah, I don’t really know what to say about this one. I think it was on the Dumb & Dumber soundtrack. Umm okay?
Track 9: “Back Of A Car” – Big Star
This track definitely makes up for the last one, that’s for sure!
Track 10: “She’s Always In My Hair” – D’Angelo
Nothing says the 90s like the Scream movies yeah? That had to be where I heard this because I’m sure, at the time I didn’t understand Prince or D’Angelo were two of the sexiest beings on the planet.
Track 11: “No Surprises” – Radiohead
Even at 16 years old I knew pre-Bends era Radiohead was an abomination. Good on me.
Track 12: “Lovely” – Suicidal Tendencies
Who’d ever think a track from Suicidal Tendencies would ever play right after Radiohead?
Track 13: “P.E. 2000” – Puff Daddy
Look, Puff Daddy was everywhere in the late 90s and if you didn’t rock to at least ONE of his tracks, you’re a liar. I forgot how cool this track was. At the time I probably had no idea where the samples came from though.
Track 14: “Cast Your Fate To The Wind” – Vince Guaraldi Trio
Apparently, I needed a chill track after that. At the time, I was really getting into guitar and I remember listening to a lot of jazz because I thought it would be a short cut to getting better at it. Killer track.
Track 15: “Never Say Never” – That Dog
What better way to end such a diverse mix of music than with That Dog?
Overall, there’s really only a few songs I wouldn’t be listening to today. I was really expecting a collection of far more embarrassing tracks but maybe my taste in music wasn’t so bad? If we’re being completely honest, the only tracks in this playlist that sound outdated are the ones from 1999. Not sure how that works but I think I’m gonna put this mix on my iPod. Yes, I still have one of those somewhere.
But maybe we’ll get into those at another time…