(CLICK ON ARTICLE TITLE TO LISTEN TO SONGS IN THE PLAYLIST)
My story begins in the summer of 2002. This was the summer that I turned 22 and I finally had a computer set up with my very own dial-up connection to the internet! So not only was I finally able to enjoy porn in the privacy of my home, but I was able to illegally download music from the file-sharing sites off the internet. Not that there were any other options at that time, as this was several years before iTunes. My friend Garbo introduced me to the joys of Limewire, and I was off and running.
With the dial-up connection, it would take about an ½ hour to download a single song, and often the file would be corrupt, or the connection would be dropped during the download. But I didn’t care, because I was finally liberated to download all the “guilty-pleasure” songs that I never would have bothered to own before, because I would have had to purchase the entire album. We all take this for granted now, but this was seriously a revolution for me. At the time I wasn’t thinking about how my actions would de-value music in the future. I was simply glad to enjoy THE DIVANYLS “I Touch Myself” without having to purchase the God-awful filler album that the song came from.
I spent a lot of time that summer driving, and I needed some good car mixes. I had bought a car adapter kit for my portable CD player that allowed me to channel the signal through my cars’ tape deck. It was pretty freakin’ awesome. In Phoenix, the Loop 101 had just been completed and it was possible to cruise at 80-90mph on the smooth surfaces without encountering much traffic (or cops).
By that summer, I had moved out of my parents house, got a full time job and dropped out of college. My nights were spent partying it up with friends at Charlie’s, followed by 1am breakfasts at the 5 and Diner. Lisa was always the designated driver, and shoulder to cry on when some stupid boy broke my heart. There were a couple of wine-soaked trips to Las Vegas, and a few poor choices in men that kept me coming back for regular shoulder-crying sessions.
Compiling this playlist from my old mix CD’s, the first thought that comes to my head is “schizophrenic.” From my own CD collection, I was into folk artists like Patty Griffin and Ani DiFranco. I was still kind of hanging on to music from the 90’s Lilith Fair era, like Lisa Loeb. In general, this is a very 90’s mix. I wasn’t listening to a lot of contemporary music back then. Kylie Minogue had just broken into the U.S. with her “Fever” album, and I remember listening to that a lot when we driving between bars. At an 80’s night at a bar I was introduced Depeche Mode. And as always, there’s a little Tori Amos in there.
In the year preceding that, I’d had my first alcoholic drink, first love, first gay bar, experienced the crushing blow of 9/11, my first broken heart, dropping out of school and being asked by my parents to move out of their house. So this was the summer where I really let myself go, and it’s easy to look back with warm nostalgia at both the good and bad that happened during that time. I can’t say the same for what would come shortly after. For that moment in time, the consequences seemed impossible.