if you want more britpop at christmas, take this!
Before rapping about this year's Christmas CD, let me register my surprise that this is the fourth time that we've done this online. It's the thirteenth mix CD I've made with Amy all told. The first one we did on the blog (and the thing that kicked off this blog in fact) isn't online anymore, along with a lot of the pictures, but the two after that, the South American pop one, and the rare groove one, both are available for download and still sound pretty good, if you ask me.
This year's mix is an unusual one, in that John and Corbett were full collaborators. I got the tiebreaking vote (and a little bit more sometimes), but there are certainly songs on here that made it solely because one of the other two guys insisted on it. Which might sound bad, but was actually nice. And to be honest, we were all mostly in agreement about most of the songs, and it all came together really easily.
That's because all of the songs are drawn from a period, basically 1995-1997, when the three of us (and our friends) were locked in a mutual Anglophilic music appreciation society. One of us would drive to Austin and bring back copies of Select to read, another of us would go online and scour any news of Blur's next album, or print out NME's single of the week entry and debate it with the other two the rest of the day. Then me & John would play it on our Monday afternoon radio show.
I think it would be wrong to say that our music taste was too insular (since at the same time we were building up our core catalogue in about six different genres), but it was certainly a time when we followed one particular music scene closer than we ever have or ever will.
The scene I'm referring to is "Britpop." And one particular era of Britpop, which the internet tells me is the "second wave." This is more or less the period of time when music coming out of the UK peaked in domestic popularity, and all of the bands signed on the backs of Suede's, & Oasis's, and Blur's early albums were putting out their efforts designed to capitalize on what, in England, really was a hysteria for the homegrown music sound.
And it was over and done with pretty quickly. By the end of 1997, the whole "Cool Britannia" era was more or less dead and buried, probably best represented by Radiohead's release of "OK Computer," which marked a new sound and a new wave of copycat bands. (Plus, I moved to NYC in the summer of 1997, so it's a natural bookkend for me anyway) (Plus, within a couple of years, the rise of file-sharing and the web reached a point where it became obvious that a single music scene, driven by a powerful music press (i.e., Melody Maker, the NME, Select, Q, etc.) was no longer feasible). Most of those press outlets barely exist anymore. And certainly not as tastemakers. This is covered better elsewhere, so let me just get to telling you about our Christmas CD.
For Corbett, John, our friends, and me, this period was really about a few bands. Blur mainly. Pulp, Supergrass, and Super Furry Animals. And, at the time, Oasis was very important too, but let me be blunt -- the music hasn't aged well. We had only one Oasis song (Whatever) on the first draft of the mix, and I decided to take it off to fit it onto one CD. And I immediately felt better about the mix, because I just couldn't stand to listen to Noel & Liam!
So with that exception, this mix reflects pretty well who we were actually listening to the last couple years of college. And we listened to this stuff a lot. Hours every day. Despite that, it's been years since I've listened to some of these songs -- a few songs on this mix I hadn't listened to since iTunes started keeping track in 2003! -- so it's been a welcome trip down memory lane the last week, trading song ideas with John & Corbett. And again, thanks to them for helping me put this together.
Happy Holidays, and see you in 2010! (Let's hope Liverpool stays unbeaten the next week, cos I won't be here again until January.)
Download the 2009 mix here.