Before Prince…

Yeah, within the next 48 hours, I’m going to revisit the SuperBowl HalfTime show… and I’m rebegin this journey all over again with Prince to mark the 10th year he’d been a fixture in my life.

I got the idea earlier this week and I’d followed it through up until this point… I’ll go through some mix CD’s I made in my earlier years of college and maybe try to put myself back in that mindset.

Here’s how it all pretty much started for me with music.
What I grew up on was pretty much what my parents played in the car. Bruce Springsteen, Bill Idol, The Moody Blues, Chicago… stuff I remember hearing, but I wasn’t really a huge fan of any of it.
We also had a VHS full of 80’s videos that my dad recorded in 1987. So then I knew I liked Whitney Houston, Debbie Gibson, The Bangles and Madonna.

Before I started buying my own music, Madonna was my favorite artist by far. I don’t know exactly what I liked about her music. Just the overall sound of it. The voice. The catchy beat. I swore to myself I’d get a blog post together about Madonna and how much I love so much of her music. Mostly 80’s, but stuff from the 90’s and beyond has sprinkled in a bit over the past couple years.

Then there was bubblegum pop. I got my first CD player for Christmas either in 1997/1998 and the first albums I owned were Christina Aguilera (which I barely listened to at all), Britney Spears (same), *NSYNC (…yeah, again) and Backstreet Boys…which I listened to A LOT.
I followed through the boy bands for a couple years.
That led up to Dream Street- who I kinda got into by accident. I saw the commercial for the album, but didn’t really get the idea. Based on the name, I thought they were a Backstreet Boy copycat.
But then I listened to the music channel on the airplane that summer where they happened to be playing and I heard 6 of their songs for the first time.

I listened to them exclusively for nearly a year. Then after they broke up… I was just lost for a long time. I didn’t like anything on the radio so I was on Radio Disney for a while because they at least played some of the songs I got to like in that short time.

I tried to pick and choose other artists to buy albums from but none had any staying power. One was another boyband I found about through a soundtrack album- not quite what I expected. Good music, but the amount of cheese in some of Plus One’s Christian lyrics… it’s not entirely my thing.
I started picking singer-songwriters, though, because I wanted to be able to play it in the car with my family and for us to have that bond with music I like. None of them, they really got or really liked.

My dad really doesn’t pay any attention to music that came out after the 80’s, but the rest of us eventually did bond over music on the radio starting around 2009 when Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift came on the scene and the fun’s been continuing onward ever since.
But it took a long time to get there. I was jumping from artist to artist between 2002 and 2007 so it was a difficult time for someone who loves music as much as I do.
But it wasn’t until I started listening to Prince that I really started to appreciate it. To pick apart the different instruments and put to words why I liked the songs I did.

But this entry had a more legit point and I’m finally getting around to it.

I had three mix CD’s that I made. And to be honest, all of them were pretty much about cleaning up inventory.

The CD I ended with today- that I played this afternoon- I probably should have played first because it was my Radio Disney/Disney Channel mix. Where I compiled songs from two Lizzie McGuire soundtracks (the movie and the TV show), Disney Mania 2 and maybe one of the Radio Disney CD’s my sister had for one song (which I found to be at the end).
My plan was to put my favorite songs on one CD so I could sell back the originals because I didn’t listen to them as often.

Or per my own system, I figured that I didn’t like enough of the CD to keep it.
DisneyMania was the only one I managed to sell back. They didn’t want the one Lizzie McGuire soundtrack (wasn’t the first time that’s happened- I had a Will Smith CD that I liked 3 songs on that got rejected and actually threw out. And I think there was one other I tried to sell back and they didn’t want)…

Yeah, I got a lot of rotation out of DisneyMania, but I only listened to 7 out 15 songs regularly.
Most of my CD’s, I listen more than 50% of them regularly. But then, I had my first CD’s for a number of years before I listened to the whole album. I used to just listen to the songs I knew from the radio.

Here’s the line-up:

Crush’N’- Jesse McCartney (Lizzie McGuire- he played this song at a concert I went to and it was never released on an official album)
The Tide is High- Atomic Kitten (Lizzie McGuire movie- next several songs)
You Make me Feel like a Star- The Beu Sisters
Open Your Eyes to Love- LMNT (interestingly just found 3 of them auditioned to be with O-Town and Matthew Morrison from “Glee” had some involvement with them… they were short-lived and did Disney soundtracks mainly)
This is what dreams are made of- Lizzie McGuire version
This is what dreams are made of- duet ballad version of Paulo and Isabella
Welcome- Jump5 (DisneyMania up until the final song)
The Circle of Life- Disney Channel stars from “That’s so Raven” and Christy Carlson Romano
A Whole New World- LMNT
Once Upon a Dream- No Secrets (oddly, they’re on an album I’m going to listen to tomorrow)
Anytime You need a friend- The Beu Sisters
Be True to Your Heart- Raven
Second Star to the Right- Jesse McCartney
I’ll be your everything- Youngstown- Inspector Gadget soundtrack

The fact I doubled up on a few artists is purely coincidental. Jesse McCartney, not so much. I kept pace with any news from former Dream Street members after they broke up and he soon became the one hope I had of not dwindling into nothingness.
Kinda makes it sound like I had a relationship with Dream Street that Bella had with Edward. The moment they left, I crumbled and it took a long time to find myself again in the music I listened to.

When I hear Jesse’s voice, to this day, it still feels like home to me. And the themes addressed in his music, I felt like I could relate to a lot of it. He said it in words I understood and connected with.
Years later, Taylor Swift did the same thing and took it to another level for me personally. Like I’d respond to situations using the same words, but I lack that songwriting talent.

So that’s a culmination of the Radio Disney years. I also have a couple of other soundtracks I got from Disney Channel movies that I still enjoy a lot.

You Make me feel like a star- whenever I listened to it, it was the greatest adrenaline rush of feel-good vibes. And today I sorely needed some of that.
Second Star to the Right- I put on my 11th grade mix where I put all the songs that were part of that year for me.

The Youngstown inclusion- I believe I put that there for some matter of stratagem (don’t know if I’m even using that word right, but I don’t care).
Youngstown was another band I liked a lot, although I only have a couple songs I know them by. I remember looking in FYE for their CD, but never found it.
It played on the music channel on the airplane that preceded Dream Street… and tomorrow I’m going to end with them.

Although what I should have done was do the Disney music Monday, my video game music mix Tuesday, the InuYasha soundtrack on Wednesday, and the massive overall compilation of stuff I downloaded from the Internet today. Just to go chronologically…

Before I got an iPod (one of my many things I didn’t have before Prince), I think I did a lot of downloading from the Internet. Most of them were probably illegal bootlegs. A bunch, I think, I got from Yahoo! Groups back in the days where I loved staying up for Adult Swim and InuYasha.
I downloaded from those groups all the theme songs from the series I liked. Some I could only find shortened versions of, but most I got in full.
I used to have a folder full of them on my computer, but it was the one folder I forgot to copy over to another medium when I had to get a new computer. With it was a Word document where I copied all the lyrics and how I broke them down by syllable so I could actually sing along correctly.
Going back, not only did I get a tremendous wave of nostalgia, but it had been so long since I listened that I forgot most of the lyrics, but with my favorites, they came back to me soon enough.
Then I ended it with two other animé themes I grew to like a lot- one was an ending from FullMetal Alchemist, season 2. And the other was my favorite Bleach theme ever… “Life” by Yui. I still have it on my iPod. I love it that much.

I had no idea what any of these songs are about, but going back to them make me think that I want to go back to the lyrics, copy them down again, break them down and translate.
I thought maybe since I set up an account with RussianPod101.com, maybe I should do that with Japanese and learn some Japanese. I noticed certain words occurred in different songs. Maybe not reading Japanese in the characters, but I’d like to be able to understand it spoken.
A little different than my goals with Russian- where I want to be able to read it as well as understand it spoken. The latter is going to take a long time for me to get, but I’m willing to do the work.

Video games, I wasn’t really huge on video games. I own less than 20 games. Most of them are either Pokémon games or Spyro. And the first 7 songs were Spyro tracks.
I always really liked Stewart Copeland’s score, but I didn’t know then he was a member of The Police. And I didn’t really get into the intricacies of the music until maybe this time around. Or at least when I got Depeche Mode’s greatest hits- their synth music sounds like it could be a video game soundtrack.
After that, I had some Zelda music. That stuff probably wasn’t legit (the Spyro music, I got from one website that had all the themes and I just downloaded the most nostalgic ones).
then the theme of Kingdom Hearts… I have opened up a new game just to see that opening sequence, to hear the song and then I’d shut off my Playstation before I even began playing.

Then I had a bunch of songs I downloaded thanks to Google. Three were Cascada tracks I heard in InuYasha YouTube montages. Hearing them again, they do get a little repetitive in the instrumental breakdowns.
Another was “Numb” by Linkin Park- that I used for my very first YouTube montage… that I uploaded three times because I needed to find a cleaner version of the song.
Then YouTube took it down for copyright infringement a week later… I watched it again for the first time in years a few months ago… it wasn’t perfect, but it was so great to revisit. It was all pictures because I didn’t know them how to get video clips. InuYasha’s parent company pulled so many videos from YouTube, it was insane. I had playlists of my favorite and have found almost all of them gone.
I think I deleted my entire InuYasha playlist because there was no point. Sesshomaru, on the other hand, I still have 4 videos that haven’t been removed yet. Two were set to songs I found and put on mixes. “Bring me to Life” and “Savin’ me” I found after. But nonetheless they worked really well.

I liked Inuyasha enough as a character that I wrote fanfiction about him. I was moving onto Sesshomaru and really getting to like him around the time Prince came into the picture.

I ended that album with a song sung by the Japanese voice actors of Sesshomaru, Rin and Jaken. I found out about it on a YouTube montage- I think I might still have that on my playlist.
That’s the piece that links up to the CD full of InuYasha themes- although I started it with “At the beginning” from the Anastasia soundtrack… I forgot I started it with it 😛

It pays to revisit mix CD’s after years of not doing so. You never know what you’ll find sometimes. That’s what I found out this week. I remembered most of the songs I had, but the surprises were so great to find. Especially finding songs I didn’t know I had saved. “Numb” was one of those.
I also had two songs by Nightwish that were YouTube montages I found by recommendation. One was on my YouTube home page. Another was in the right hand column of a video.

And why I wanted to put this last CD last instead of first… it also comes down to the final songs I put on. Because it connects with Prince.

It started with some old Dream Street bootlegs that were available for download on some of their fan sites. Songs that weren’t officially released until their Biggest fan soundtrack album.
Oddly, one song was the original cut and the other was a re-recorded version after their voices changed.
I also had some Jesse McCartney Sugar Beats tracks I got from Yahoo! groups (both Christmas songs).
A couple of interviews, then a medley of songs Chris Trousdale never released on a solo album that was planned after Dream Street broke up and he was to be a solo artist. A career that has yet to materialize.
Yeah, all these years later, I’m still waiting for it. He now follows me on Twitter and has replied a couple of times. Which is pretty amazing.

On YouTube, I was looking to see if any full versions of these songs turned up. “It’s gonna getcha” is the only one I’m really interested in. I remember getting a MySpace page just so I could listen to his music on there.

As I went through, I found some really old songs on there. Songs I hadn’t heard in years. The tail end of the 90’s and the early 2000’s.
“Bailimos” by Enrique Iglesias (I had another of his songs later on… and I got to thinking about how it’s been a while since I heard his most recent stuff)
“Clocks” by Coldplay (which had such bad quality, it almost sounded like another artist that wasn’t Chris Martin)
“Desert Rose” by Sting (that was another great YouTube montage featuring Sesshomaru (it got uploaded a second time but since then, it hasn’t been back)… love how atmospheric that is.
then the one time Click Five did a soundtrack for Disney- “Best Friend” for The Shaggy Dog… someone recorded it off the TV when they did the promo for it so all the effects are still there.

After a while, though, I got where I needed to go. there were a handful of songs I heard on the radio in 2006 that had me thinking that I might be able to give radio a chance ago.
“Cable Car” by the Fray
“Ever the Same” by Rob Thomas
then to my surprise “Makes Me Wonder” by Maroon 5… I didn’t get their albums until a couple years after that. I remembered I liked “She will be loved” when I saw the video on VH1… I heard a few songs there I liked, but I never followed through with anything. Not until I finally gave Adam Levine and Maroon 5 a chance. I got their first two albums for Christmas 2008.

Then I ended with two songs from the Bangles… wild guess what the 2nd one was… hint… Prince wrote it.

So it all circles back to him after all that.

My tastes in music has changed so much over the years, but when he became a permanent part of that, it became much more varied and more enhanced.

I was getting into the doldrums about the albums I put on heavy rotation in the winter and this was a very welcome change.
So I’ll revisit the HalfTime show, probably write a blog about it and next week I begin with Prince from the very beginning again.

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