I have a lot of music. Mostly I listen to albums. Whole albums. Not on shuffle. I quite like hearing albums the way they’ve been put together and thinking about them as a single unit, rather than as a bunch of songs that happen to be bundled together.
But as a result of that, there’s a lot of the music in my collection that’s overlooked. Some of my favourite music is on albums I don’t like all that much. Some albums get ignored in favour of others.
Sometimes, though, it’s just fun to make playlists and mix tapes. In fact, it’s one of my favourite things to do.
So I’ve been going through my digital music library recently looking at ways in which I can put together collections of songs that are interesting to listen to – especially for those songs I tend not to listen to a great deal. I’ve been doing this by coming up with themed mixes.
My teen self redeemed
Last night I hit upon a theme I really like: Music that I loved when I was a teenager that I still love today. I decided on 40 tracks as a good number – and I wanted those songs to work together as a single playlist. It has to hang together well, and it needs to flow. It needs variety, of course – but nothing too disjointed or outside of the overall vibe of the whole.
My favourite music these days tends to be either new, or music that I had no idea even existed back when I was a teenager listening to the radio, buying records and swapping tapes with friends. So there was something of a challenge to this. It had to be stuff that I still absolutely love, even though 30 years have passed, give or take.
I started with 72 songs, and culled it down to a bunch of tunes that you can put on, and leave on. Or at least – I can.
Nobody said anything about ‘cool’ music…
I make no apologies for any of this music. There’s stuff in here that is simply not cool to like. Don’t care. I was not, by any measure, a cool teenager.
And besides, music has meaning for people for all sorts of reasons. Nostalgia for a golden age that didn’t really exist is a perfectly good one. I liked lots of other great music as well as lots of terrible music. Teenagers are a bit useless like that.
Of course, I mentioned this mix on Twitter and a bunch of people said they were curious to see what I came up with. So here’s the playlist.
Rhythm Of Cruelty – Magazine
Rescue – Echo & The Bunnymen
Quiet Life – Japan
Language Is A Virus – Laurie Anderson
Geno – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
Houses in Motion – Talking Heads
Shock The Monkey – Peter Gabriel
The Word Girl – Scritti Politti
Primary – The Cure
Fall On Me – R.E.M.
52 Girls – The B-52’s
Chant No. 1 – Spandau Ballet
Four Flights Up – Lloyd Cole and the Commotions
Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely – Hüsker Dü
Handsome Devil – The Smiths
Generals And Majors – XTC
Like Wow-Wipeout – Hoodoo Gurus
Spanish Stroll – Mink Deville
Ghost Town – The Specials
Red Guitar – David Sylvian
Save It For Later – The Beat
Werewolves Of London – Warren Zevon
Suspended In Gaffa – Kate Bush
16 Shells From A 30.6 – Tom Waits
Stay – The Blue Nile
The Unguarded Moment – The Church
Marlene On The Wall – Suzanne Vega
Life’s What You Make It – Talk Talk
The Flat Earth – Thomas Dolby
I Don’t Want To Go To Chelsea – Elvis Costello
Fish Below the Ice – Shriekback
Man Overboard – Do-Ré-Mi
King In A Catholic Style – China Crisis
New Gold Dream [81-82-83-84] – Simple Minds
Living On The Ceiling – Blancmange
Three of a Perfect Pair – King Crimson
I Could Be Happy – Altered Images
The Perfect Kiss – New Order
Up the Hill Backwards – David Bowie
This is the day – The The
So that’s what I’m listening to right now. I’d be curious to hear what has survived from your teenage years. The stuff you never managed to get tired of. Any overlap?