I recently unearthed some old tapes (and by "some," I mean "hundreds")...and now you have to pay! Kidding. Ignore this all you want. In this post are very specific relics from a very specific childhood: six mixes worth of songs taped off the radio. My obsessive media gathering began as soon as we got a VCR and hasn't really changed since -- I burn shows obsessively in the event that they'll somehow cease existing (not everything goes to iTunes, I'll have you know!). Music's a different story, though -- thank god I no longer have to rely on timing to have in my possession new songs that I may or may not want to listen to recorded until they're officially released! The medium contained in this post is officially extinct.
As opposed to whole listening experiences, these tapes mostly represent cataloging -- I recorded many of these songs as I heard them for the first time, and given the obscurity of much of this junky, poppy house stuff, it was also the last time. I was completely justified in my paranoia of never hearing this stuff again with good reason: not much of it was worth hearing again.
But still, I listen to this stuff and I'm mesmerized -- being exposed to this much dance music as a 14- and 15-year-old kid certainly shaped my current listening. The comparably small proportion of hip-hop I apparently listened to from 1992 to 1993 (when these were made) has remained pretty much constant. That said, when listening to these tapes again after almost 20 years, what hit me the hardest was hearing Grand Puba's "360 Degrees (What Goes Around)" (on Radio 8) -- hearing that joyous, tactile hip-hop coming off tape felt like home to me.
I was also clearly obsessed with Janet Jackson and Luther Vandross' "The Best Things in Life Are Free" (it pops up no fewer than three times), as well as the weekly countdown American Dance Tracks, hosted by the excruciating Downtown Julie Brown (stick around for a bit and you'll hear her assert that she was "gettin' down" with every single artist on her weekly lists). That countdown was particularly great because it allowed me to finally hear so much of the stuff that I'd read the names of when I'd scan the Billboard dance charts (which I would do whenever I could, though I remember as a child only rarely being able to swing the $6 per issue that Billboard charged).
It's funny how much this stuff seemed to matter then and how little it matters now. This used to be my playground, truly.
(Added bonus: My voice can be heard on a few of these, mostly calling in with hot-or-not type of votes for new songs. This happens immediately after the first song on Radio 4.)