33 years ago, during my sophomore year of high school, I put together the first of what would eventually become a nearly 20 volume collection of mix tapes, containing my favorite songs that I had gathered either from the radio, a cassette tape, or (eventually) CD. Today, we revisit those mix tapes for the fourth time and see how, or if, the soundtrack of my youth still resonates in today’s digital world and how much has changed over the past four years.
Volume 4 places us smack dab in the middle of my junior year of high school, from late 1990 and into 1991, and, quite possibly, the worst entry in this series. There are 20 cassettes in this series, comprised of 287 songs. Nearly 25% of them has been performed by a band I have seen in concert. In fact, ever single entry contains at least one song by a band I have seen live. Except this one.
Five of the songs here are older hits that weren’t current during my junior year. Six of the songs come from just two bands: Poison and Roxette. Judging solely from songs contained on this tape, you would have a hard time believing that Nirvana’s Nevermind would be released later that year and that the music industry would sound completely different a year later.
Damn Yankees – High Enough
iTunes stats: 15 plays, most recently on 7/28/2022
Peaking at #3 on the Billboard charts, the one big hit from the supergroup featuring right-wing douchenozzle Ted Nugent added only five new plays since 2017.
Sweet Sensation – If Wishes Came True
iTunes stats: 16 plays, most recently on 12/20/2021
The #25 hit of 1990 added three additional listens over the past four years.
Poison – Fallen Angel
iTunes stats: 28 plays, most recently on 11/10/2022
Poison’s hit from 1988, the only single from Open Up and Say… Ahh! not to crack the top 10, got six additional listens over the past four years.
Simpsons – Do The Bartman
iTunes stats: 15 plays, most recently on 3/23/2022
The first hit from the animated TV family, which went to #1 in five countries but wasn’t officially released as a single in the US, added seven new listens since 2019.
Roxette – The Look
iTunes stats: 20 plays, most recently on 12/22/2022
Ranked as the #17 single of 1989, the hit for the Swedish duo gained nine new spins over the past four years.
Poison – I Won’t Forget You
iTunes stats: 13 plays, most recently on 12/12/2021
The fourth single from Poison’s debut album, originally taped off a mixtape I “borrowed” from my friend Mike’s sister, managed just four additional plays since 2019.
Roxette – Listen To Your Heart
iTunes stats: 20 plays, most recently on 3/10/2022
Roxette’s second entry on this particular cassette, which hit #1 on the Billboard charts, went up by seven listens.
Tevin Campbell – Round and Round
iTunes stats: 13 plays, most recently on 11/26/2019
Produced by Prince and featured in his film Graffiti Bridge, the tune has popped up just four times and was last heard prior to the start of the pandemic.
Poison – Ride The Wind
iTunes stats: 20 plays, most recently on 10/1/2021
Poison’s third entry on this cassette, which peaked at #38 on the Billboard charts, picked up eight plays over the past four years.
Roxette – Joyride
iTunes stats: 23 plays, most recently on 1/5/2022
A five play increase for the third entry on this cassette from Roxette, the first single from their sophomore effort and the #23 hit of 1991.
Nelson – More Than Ever
The third (and last) hit for the grandsons of Ozzie & Harriet remains absent from my iTunes collection.
Cathy Dennis – All Night Long (Touch Me)
iTunes stats: 14 plays, most recently on 11/20/2021
The dance hit, which managed to hit #2 on the Billboard charts, was listened to five times in the last four years.
Great White – Once Bitten, Twice Shy
iTunes stats: 34 plays, most recently on 10/8/2022
An increase of six listens for the biggest hit from the band now mostly known for a fatal fire in a small club in 2003.