The Bestest Mix

Readers may remember that before I left for Chicago, I made a request of my friends that they burn me a mix CD to listen to on my drive from Ohio to my new home. This resulted in over 15 hours of music personally chosen for me by people I like a lot.

My best friend Brittany didn’t get a CD burned in time for me to leave, but she said she still intended to make me one because she had a lot of ideas for it. She wasn’t kidding; when I was home this past week, she surprised me with a 7-disc anthology of music chronicaling our now 20-year-old friendship.

The CDs lasted almost exactly as long as my drive home, and for the most part, I loved every second of it (I still hate that “Discovery Channel” song). She found these random 90s songs I hadn’t heard in 15 years, but it’s so much more than that; we have these shared memories and experiences tied to these songs we remember listening to together in grade school, singing, discussing. Also, the CDs range from pop to 70s classic rock to 90s industrial metal to oldies to R&B and much more. It’s titled the Bestest Mix for a reason. We listened to everything when we were in school, and always together. I laughed and cried all the way home, which means there was never a dull moment.

Some highlights:

  • The very first song is “Here Comes The Sun,” by the Beatles.
  • “Mouth,” by Merril Bainbridge, a kind of dirty song I had no idea was dirty was when I was little and loved it.
  • “Glycerin,” by Bush — possibly my most-listened-to song in 1994, a good year for music. And movies.
  • “I’ll Be There For You,” the Rembrants, Britt’s nod to my young lifelong obsession with “Friends”.
  • “Bitch,” by Meredith Brooks;
  • “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” by Deep Blue Something;
  • “The Joker,” Steve Miller Band;
  • “My Immortal,” Evanescence (yeahhh, remember that band?);
  • “Stay,” Lisa Loeb;
  • “Graduation,” by Vitamin C;
  • “Runaway Train,” by Soul Asylum;
  • “Hey Ya!” by Outkast, which came out our senior year of high school. I remember watching the video for it while getting ready for school at her house.
  • Random Green Day songs. She owned “Nimrod,” and between my brother and me we had the rest of the decade.
  • “You Make Me Wanna,” by Usher. She had that CD, and we listened to the crap out of it. Other CDs in this category include Mariah Carey’s Greatest Hits (also very much represented), the first-ever volume of “Now That’s What I Call Music,” and more. Other CDs I remember listening to all the time at her place were the Spice Girls and, oddly, the Best of Billy Joel, but those didn’t make the mix.
  • Modest Mouse and Death Cab songs; I didn’t realize until now, but Brittany must have picked up on my obsessions with both these indie bands. Understanding this was very touching. She also happened to pick “So Much Beauty In Dirt,” my ultimate MM song.
  • The very last song was “Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred.

When I was little I used to record songs I liked off the radio. So I basically had a crap ton of tapes with Shawn Colvin’s “Sunny Came Home,” Jewel’s “You Were Meant For Me,” whatever the current Alanis Morisette song was at the time (the ultimate voice of a woman scorned) and “Slide” by the Goo Goo Dolls, all in a loop. This CD collection is those tapes and more, in digital format, and I couldn’t be more pumped. Thank you to Brittany, the bestest friend a girl could ask for!

And now, the song that will always make me think of her and that I knew I would find on this CD, even though I hadn’t heard it in more than a decade:

The “Broke My Own Heart Again” Mix

“Breakin’ Up,” Rilo Kiley
“So What,” Ani DiFranco
“Title and Registration,” Death Cab
“Swingset Chain,” Loquat
“I Hear Noises,” Tegan & Sara
“These Days,” Nico
“How’s It Going To Be,” Third Eye Blind
“Gotta Have You,” The Weepies
“Oh! Sweet Nuthin’,” Velvet Underground
“Rest of my Life,” Rilo Kiley
“Your Ex-Lover Is Dead,” Stars
“Hurt,” Nine Inch Nails
“When I Come Around,” Green Day
“Romeo and Juliet,” Dire Straights