The cassette tape, while not as maligned as the poor 8 track, is still kind of considered the red-headed step-child of the last wave of music media (LPs, cassettes, and cds). People don't dig on the fast forwarding, or rewinding, and those cases just begged to get broken. But they are extremely portable, and a record store clerk I was talking to recently said that they are in fact more versatile than cds, and typically last longer. So I have decided to show the tapes some love, even though I still do and always will prefer vinyl. As an aside, the first piece of music I ever bought was on cassette..."The Doors Greatest Hits," purchased summer 1992.
A few weeks back I was at the thrift store and found a pile of cool VHS tapes, along with 4 cassettes. I'm finally getting around to listening to them tonight. Here are the titles:
1) "Top Gun" soundtrack -
This is essential for any soundtrack collector. "The Heat Is On," "Take My Breath Away," and the theme from "Top Gun" make this not only the soundtrack for a classic action flick, but a soundtrack for the whole '80s decade!
2) "Beverly Hills Cop" soundtrack -
Not as good as the above tape, but still pretty awesome. "Axel F", the theme of the movie, is a legit synth-pop instrumental classic by Harold Faltermeyer (who also co-wrote the theme to "Top Gun"). The rest of the songs are a mix of synth pop and sassy female R & B by the likes of Pattie Labelle and the Pointer Sisters. I found the Danny Elfman song "Gratitude" to be a pleasant surprise.
Like most who were children in the '80s and teens in the '90s, when the band New Order was mentioned one song came to mind: "Blue Monday," which was memorably covered by electronic rock band Orgy in 1998 (the year of my high school graduation). It was later that same year while a Freshman at Western Michigan University that I picked up an '80s compilation featuring their song "Bizarre Love Triangle." That song BLEW MY MIND. It was at once urgent, haunting, beautiful and apocalyptic (for some reason it came to mind while watching a rented copy of the nuclear war telefilm "The Day After," a movie that I think may have the most depressing ending of all time. The song seemed to fit with the doom and gloom). I started listening to a lot of '80s synth pop in the past year and this band, while hard to label, were equal parts electronic/dance and equal parts rock. Sometimes that combo sounds pretty darn appealing to me.
4) 10,000 Maniacs - Our Time In Eden
Yes, I bought a 10,000 Maniacs tape. Before you tell me to put on my birkenstocks, spike my hair, and go to Lilith Fair, hear me out. I have always loved the voice of the lovely lead singer Natalie Merchant, and found this alternative/folk/college rock group to be enormously talented. I also picked this up out of sheer nostalgia, as this was a big album when it was released. Between this band and the Cranberries, 1992 was the year for folky, female-fronted bands to get big. This release was the last to feature the Natalie on vocals. I vaguely remember the band staying together with a different singer and doing that "More Than This" song. Natalie of course went on to a successful solo career.