Saturday, November 2, 2019

McQ's Best Of 1998 Vol 10 - Nancy's Favorites!

Okay friends, so this may not be the final version of this mix - Nancy is still noodling with the order - but her selections are so much fun, I didn't want to wait on her any longer, so we're gonna post this version of Nancy's mix now, and if she ever gets around to polishing the sequencing down the line, so be it.

Until then, enjoy!

Here's the Spotify Link!

About The Artists/Albums/Songs Represented On Nancy's Mix:

1. California Stars - Wilco: Nancy kicks off her 1998 mix with this wonderful Wilco contribution to the first edition of the Woody Guthrie lyric restoration project Mermaid Avenue.

2. Ciencia Fiction - Los Planetas: We've already featured songs from Spain's Los Planetas' Una Semana En El Motor De Un Autobus on our Early Indie / Aging Alts and Words Be Damned mixes, but Nancy definitely grabbed the album's finest track for her mix here with the so R.E.M.-ish Ciencia Fiction.

3. Perfect - Smashing Pumpkins: The spirit of the Smashing Pumpkin's '96 smash 1979 is almost "perfectly" resuscitated in the best song from 1998's Adore.

4. Iris - The Goo Goo Dolls: Originally conceived for/released as part of the soundtrack for City Of Angels, the 1998 Nicolas Cage/Meg Ryan remake of Wim Wenders' Wings Of Desire, Iris became the biggest smash of the Buffalo, New York hitmakers career, not to mention one of the biggest hits of the 90s overall, topping the Billboard radio airplay charts for a record breaking eighteen straight weeks. Later also included on the band's mainstream-oriented sixth full-length, 1998's Dizzy Up The Girl, Iris - along with fellow hits Slide, Broadway, and Black Balloonhelped power the album to triple platinum sales. 

5. Last Stop: This Town - Eels: The second song in our 1998 mix collection to be inspired by first hand paranormal experiences (the other being Neutral Milk Hotel's Ghost), and also the song that inspired Electro-Shock Blues' cover,  Eel's frontman Mark Oliver Everett wrote the number immediately after returning home to his Echo Lake apartment complex after his sister's funeral in Hawaii. Almost as soon as he had exited his taxi from the airport, Everett was approached by his landlord who confided in him that she regularly saw apparitions, and with no knowledge of where Everett had been told him that while he was away, the spirit of a young woman had entered his apartment.  To allay his fears and help himself get to sleep that night, Everett turned to thoughts of his sister stopping by for a final friendly goodbye, and imaged the two of them taking flight over the city for one last "joyride" before she started her journey into the afterlife.

6. Lullaby - Shawn Mullins: Put that proverbial gun to Nancy's head, and I think she'd be force to admit this Shawn Mullins' guilty pleasure is her favorite song on this mix. The sad tale of an aging, forgotten, drug-addicted Hollywood socialite from his fourth studio album Soul's Core, Lullaby was the biggest hit of Georgia-native Mullins' career.

7. Closing Time - Semisonic: The biggest hit ever for Minnesota rock trio Semisonic, Closing Time is typically interpreted as a straight forward, last call pick-up number, but drummer Jacob Slichter has indicated songwriter Dan Wilson actually wrote the song as a metaphor for his pending fatherhood when he penned the fan favorite for their second studio release Feeling Strangely Fine.

8. Crush - Jennifer Paige: Another of Nancy's favorite guilty pleasures of 1998 from another Georgia-born singer, Crush, which first appeared on Paige's eponymous debut, was the biggest hit of the her still active career, and has been covered many times since its 1998 release, including a short, humorous usage in a Season 2 episode of Glee.

9. Polyester Bride - Liz Hair: One of three updated cuts on Whitechocolatespaceegg that originally appeared in 1991 on Phair's self-produced Girly-Sound cassettes, Polyester Bride stands today as Whitechoolatespaceegg's most frequently played song. 

10. My Favorite Mistake - Sheryl Crow: A perfect selection for Nancy, as My Favorite Mistake, the lead single from Sheryl Crow's third full-length The Globe Sessions isn't just a nifty Stones-styled rocker, but widely interpretted to be a gentle putdown of another artist Nancy loves, Crow romantic ex Eric Clapton.

11. Joy - Lucinda Williams: First up amongst the three songs Nancy has chosen from Lucinda Williams Pazz And Jop topping Car Wheels On A Gravel Road, the album's feistiest, funniest, and maybe best song, the inimitable Joy. 

12. You Get What You Give - New Radicals: The debut single from Los Angeles-based alternative rockers New Radicals' only album Maybe You've Been Brainwashed presently rates very high on most best songs of 1998 lists, due in large part to the song's final verse, in which band leader/songwriter Gregg Alexander filled the first half with a litany of urgent political issues and the second half with a mean-spirited dis of several other popular musicians of the day as a sociological experiment to see which half of the verse would rivet the music press's attention. Sadly, we can all guess the answer, and unsurprisingly, Alexander and his bandmate/lifelong songwriting partner, former All In The Family child actress Danielle Brisebois, soon became so disenchanted with the press junction part of the process they chose to give up the touring/band-fronting life altogether, deciding instead to focus the rest of their successful, still ongoing careers on producing and writing for others from behind the scenes, where they could be free of the nonsense.

13. Love Is Better Than A Warm Trombone - Gomez:  The loose, crunchy Love Is Better Than A Warm Trombone is the first of two songs Nancy has selected from Gomez's 1998 Mercury Prize-winning debut Bring It On.

14. Special - Garbage: Every year, there's one song Nancy whisks away from me for her annual mix that hurts the most, and for this 1998 collection, it was definitely this track here from Garbage's Version 2.0. 90s power-pop just doesn't get any better (or should we say "special") than Special - especially love the call back to The Pretenders' Talk Of The Town towards the end. 

15. The Way - Fastball: Voted by VH1 as one of the 100 best songs of the 90s, this hit from the Texas-based alt-rock act's second album All The Pain Money Can Buy took a ripped-from-the-headlines approach in mythologizing what might have happened to senile elderly couple Lela and Raymond Howard in the two week gap after they mysteriously drove away from their Texas home before being found crashed dead in a Hot Springs, Arkansas ravine. 

16. Fly Away - Lenny Kravitz: One of Lenny Kravitz's most popular songs, Fly Away almost didn't make his fifth full-length release 5. According to Kravitz, the completed album had already been turned into his label when he came up with the song one day while shopping for/goofing around on potential new guitars. He recorded a quick demo, sent it to his reluctant label, and after hearing the demo, the label agreed finishing of 5 should be delayed to add the track. 

17. The Rockafeller Skank - Fatboy Slim: And now, The Rockefeller Skank from Fatboy Slim's big beat smash You've Come A Long Way, Baby!, which presently rates as the #2 song of 1998 according to aggregator

18. Hand In Your Head - Money Mark: Given that Nancy has never been a major hip hop fan, the biggest surprise on this mix has to be her selection of not just one but two tracks from Beastie's Boys producer/touring keyboardist Mark Ramos Nishita's (aka Money Mark) second solo outing Push The Button. But as far as that goes, she's definitely picked two great songs, starting with the album's funkiest track, the "super-hits-of-the-seventies-styled" Hand In Your Head here. 

19. Metal Firecracker - Lucinda Williams: For Nancy's second selection from Car Wheels On A Gravel Road, one of the simplest and most poignant break-up songs of the last twenty-five years. 

20. Here Comes The Breeze - Gomez: Nancy's second selection from Gomez's debut Bring It On highlights the blues-rock act's folkier side and talent for instinctively ragged Band-like group harmonies.

21. Sail Away - David Gray: A tribute to how popular David Gray's White Ladder was in the early 2000s (and also how slowly but steadily it caught on) this fourth and final single from the record was released a full three years after White Ladder first hit the shelves. 

22. Tomorrow Will Be Like Today - Money Mark: The spirit of Get Happy-era Elvis Costello courses through every second of this wonderful pop number from Money Mark's Push The Button.

23. Right In Time - Lucinda Williams: One last number from Car Wheels On A Gravel Road, here the album's provocatively ambiguous opener (What exactly is it that kindles the song's sense of ecstasy? There are many justified interpretations) Right In Time.

24. Sleep The Clock Around - Belle & Sebastian: With their fanbase growing exponentially following the indie-breakout of 1996's If Your Feeling Sinister, Belle & Sebastian band leader Stuart Murdoch did a generous thing, making room for his fellow bandmates to shine on third full-length The Boy With The Arab Strap, and both guitarist Stuart Jackson and cellist Isobel Campbell took advantage. Case in point, this fan favorite duet between Murdoch and Campbell here anchored around the conceit of slowly growing into one's own skin.

25. 3 Speed - Eels: Another song from Electro-Shock Blues about Mark Oliver Everett's sister Elizabeth, this time capturing a sense of the fleeting joy of her idyllic suburban childhood before her tragedy began to unfold, but also laced with a hint that the inner turmoil that ultimately cost her her life was present from the very start.

26. Say Hello, Wave Goodbye - David Gray: Nancy and have been together for twenty-six magnificent years now, and it's quite possible the two albums I've heard her listen to the most over that quarter-decade span are David Gray's White Ladder and Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, so it's only fitting that her mix, and our 1998 collection as a whole, ends with a song that magically combines the power of both. 

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