Once upon a time, probably in the spring on 1998 right after Ray Of Light was released, I made a mix tape and I cleverly called it “Dan’s Tres Excellente Tape.” I remember Heidi making fun of it because there were some songs that she definitely looked over her glasses at, but we were newly married and so much in love that she tolerated them. When CD burning became a thing, I took to transferring a lot of my mix tapes to CD. The only trouble was the tapes were 90 minutes and the CDs were only 74 minutes long, cutting out over 15 minutes worth of music and up to 4-5 songs. The cuts were always brutal, but never moreso than they were in making “Dan’s Tres Excellente CD.” I wish I could remember the songs I cut.
- Lots of duplicate artists – two Madonnas, two Loreena McKennitts, two Chers, two Mary Chapin Carpenters. I wonder if any of the songs I cut were a third selection from any of these artists or ones I should have kept in lieu of keeping a second by any of the previously mentioned artistts. But duplicate artists played well on mix tapes as long as you didn’t have them on the same side of the tape! CDs (and now, playlists) are much less forgiving.
- I had completely forgotten about that Amanda Marshall song, “I’ll Be Okay.” It came from the soundtrack to My Best Friend’s Wedding and was a big favorite of ours at the time. We loved Amanda Marshall’s debut album so much and this song would have fit right in with that bunch. I’ll always think of the early years of our marriage when I listen to Amanda Marshall.
- Heidi always turned up her nose at “There Are Worse Things I Could Do” but it is arguably the strongest song on the Grease soundtrack. I’ve always dug Stockard Channing’s portrayal of Rizzo – it’s surely the definitive performance for a generations of fans of the musical – and this song that she sings as rumors of her pregnancy swirl through Rydell High is a huge favorite of mine. It’s also home to one of my most infamous misheard lyrics. Actual lyric: I can feel and I can cry/A fact I’ll bet you never knew. What Dan heard: I can feel and I can cry/That dog bit you, you never knew.
- This was the beginning of a big Pam Tillis obsession for me. I’m pretty sure that “Spilled Perfume” was my gateway into all things Pam. How was I supposed to resist a song that contains a lyric “there’s no use crying over spilled perfume”? Pam’s music is pretty cheesy but it was some of the best 90s country had to offer.
- “Quittin’ Time” is such a college song for me. A song about the end of a romantic relationship, I remember applying it to any number of platonic relationships I had at the time. A lot of that was my depression talking, but it doesn’t change that’s how I felt. You pretend and I pretend that everything is fine. And though we should be at an end, it’s so hard admittin’ when it’s quittin’ time. God I wasted a lot of college feeling like shit.
- I LOVE “Trail of Broken Hearts.” It’s such a quintessential Cher song but no one knows it, not even a lot of fans. I can’t even describe why I like it so much. I guess it’s just something unique to me.
- That goddamn Titanic song.
- “Dante’s Prayer” is the best last song on a CD ever.
Anyway, if you want to listen to this mix, here’s a Spotify playlist. I recommend it as it’s “very great.”