Today's mixtape is Z. With the exception of a "Z" etched Zorro-style into the black plastic housing on both sides of the tape, a tiny "Z" scratched on the silver label and a purple "Z" written on the jcard, there is no other writing. There are no artists and no titles listed on the jcard so I have no idea what to expect which should be fun.
Let's put the tape in, press Play and listen. Hey, I know this song...
- The first song is the Sheila E. and Prince duet, " A Love Bizarre", taken from her Romance 1600 album. It's a great track though, for mixtape purposes, it might have been a better choice to use the 3:46 single edit rather than the full-length 12:17 album version heard here.
- Track two is "Erotic City", also a Prince and Sheila E. duet. The message is clear after two tracks - I was more than a little horny for my honey, the recipient of this mixtape. Once again, I indulged myself by including the full 7:23 version, the B-side of the "Let's Go Crazy" twelve-inch single. If I were to make the same tape today, I'd use the 45 version, which clocks in at a mere 3:56 and instead of being almost twenty minutes into the first side of the tape, I'd be less than eight minutes in.
- The third song continues the now embarrassing message with Prince's "Girl", the B-side of the twelve-inch single of "America", so of course it runs over seven minutes (7:36) as well. Only three songs in and the side more than halfway filled.
- Another duet is up next: Prince and Apollonia on "Take Me With U" from Purple Rain. It helps to lighten the mood a bit and coming in at just under four minutes, it is thus far the briefest song in the mix.
- Track five is Electric Light Orchestra's "Sweet Talkin' Woman" as I continued my retreat from hot and heavy to cute and sweet via song. These three songs, continuing the romantic vibe, close out the side:
- "Be Near Me" - ABC
- "Every Time I Think Of You" - The Babys
- "I Want To Hold Your Hand" - The Beatles
- Things continue to get cozy as we flip the tape over and Foreigner's "I Want To Know What Love Is" kicks the next forty-five minutes off right. I know the song rubs a lot of people the wrong way but for me and my baby, it is a great song.
- Klymaxx's "I Miss You" follows and is turn followed by "Ain't Nobody" from Chaka Khan & Rufus.
- Then we jump back a couple of decades to Sam Cooke's "You Send Me", without a doubt the most romantic song on the whole tape regardless of what may follow.
- "Love Rules", Don Henley's schoolboy tale of unrequited love from the Fast Times At Ridgemont High soundtrack is up next. Does anyone else like this song as much as I do? The song's co-writer Danny Kortchmar also co-wrote the soundtrack's "Somebody's Baby" with Jackson Browne.
- Tina Truner's comeback hit "What's Love Got To Do With It?" an anti-love song in disguise as a romantic song. Still, the lyrics summed up the effects my lady had on me so it fits within the overall theme here.
- The Minneapolis Sound pioneered by Prince returns on "Can You Help Me" from guitarist Jesse Johnson, from The Time. Again, I can hear the message I was so desperate to get across in the lyrics. And again, I opted to use the 6:09 extended twelve-inch version of the song rather than the slightly shorter album track or the 4:10 edit on the 45. Some viewers may recall I named the "Can You Help Me" single as one of My Twelve Top Twelve-Inch Singles of 1985 and also included the single's non-LP B-side "Free World" on mixtape V.
- In what should have been the final song on this tape, Prince's "Purple Rain" is the eighth track.
- But then I stumbled on and closed out the side with a cut off the Fame soundtrack album, "I Sing The Body Electric". Lameness to the left of me and lameness to the right but here we are, the two of us still stuck together after thirty-three years.
My best guess is that tape Z was dubbed shortly before Thanksgiving as I got the Kylmaxx album on the twelfth of November 1985.
Sure, Z is the end of the alphabet but don't you shed a single tear; there are plenty more cassettes to listen to and share as we move forward into the double-letter series (AA, BB, CC, etc.)