Bowling for Soup, "Girl All the Bad Guys Want" (Jive; 2002).
Bel Biv DeVoe, "Do Me!" (MCA; 1990).
Naughty by Nature, "Feel Me Flow" (Tommy Boy; 1995).
Janet Jackson, "Black Cat" (A&M; 1989).
Electric Light Orchestra, "Don't Bring Me Down" (Jet; 1979).
H-Town, "Knockin' Boots for Christmas" (Luke; 1993).
Blink-182, "Always" (Geffen; 2003).
Blink-182, "Dammit" (Grilled Cheese; 1997).
Britney Spears ft. Ying Yang Twins, "(I Got That) Boom Boom" (Jive; 2003).
The Darkness, "Knockers" (Atlantic; 2005).
Linkin Park, "Faint" (Warner Bros.; 2003).
Poison, "Fallen Angel" (Capitol; 1988).
R. Kelly, "Dancing With a Rich Man" (Jive; 1998).
Television, "Glory" (Elektra; 1978).
Trina ft. Kelly Rowland, "Here We Go" (Slip-N-Slide/Atlantic; 2005).
Turbonegro, "Wasted Again" (Burning Heart; 2005).
Usher, "That's What It's Made For" (LaFace; 2004).
V, "1926" (Propeller; 1982).
Weezer, "The World Has Turned and Left Me Here" (Geffen; 1994).
T.I. ft. Beenie Man, "I'm Serious (GW Blend)" (MP3; 2005).
CD-Rs I make for my friends usually have little theme beyond "These songs are rocking my ass right now" and little structure beyond a desire to avoid unpleasant musical train wrecks. (I said "unpleasant.") This one starts with Bowling for Soup, who put some Fountains of Wayne in their Blink-182 (and vice versa). They'll listen to Limp Bizkit and get tattoos for some action, and still won't get it, but Bel Biv DeVoe, despite being as puerile as any pop-punk snot-rock, get to flip it up, smack it, rub it down, oh no!—or at least say they do. Naughty by Nature's summer strong-arming takes you back a decade; Janet's hair-metal goes back another five; ELO's practically Jurassic, except their space-age Beatles rips are still valid according to Franz Ferdinand and your mother. "Knockin' Boots for Christmas" adds jingle balls and sleigh-vagina metaphors to a slow jam you might not remember; it's available on the compilation Christmas at Luke's House.
Blink-182's "Always" was recorded years after "Dammit," but "Dammit," which shames most emo bullshit despite being aimed at 14-year-olds rather than 17-year-olds, flows better into "Boom Boom," where the Ying Yang Twins get crunk with Britney and a banjo. The Darkness "love what you've done to your hair" and sound like they've just done theirs. Linkin Park won't be ignored, not with kung fu Bernard Herrmann techno-metal this severe. Poison wonder if the little girl's dreams are worth all the pain but forget that those sentiments are usually expressed in ballads. R. Kelly mixes up his European countries worse than Chocolat did, rhyming "oh oui oui" with "Kenshire's Gallery" and warbling about "bailamos" over Spanish guitar—it's the best thing on Disc 2 of 1998's R.
If Television reaffirm my indie cred, Trina my feminist cred, and Turbonegro my badass cred, Usher daintily rhapsodizing about his dick over a flute loop means all is lost. Thalia Zedek covered "1926" with extra pathos on her solo debut, but the original version (sung by former Magnetic Field Susan Anway) is what's on my hard drive thanks to the awesome Zedek site: members.cox.net/inferiority/thalia-zedek. Almost every song on Weezer's "Blue Album" is a rock-radio "push track" now—"World Has Turned" is my third-favorite nonsingle from it. Finally, Ethan Padgett (an occasional SW contributor) made this T.I./Souls of Mischief blend. Like every other track here, it slaps me in the face whenever it comes up on shuffle.
Anthony Miccio is a freelance writer in Philadelphia.