Daily Archives: January 12, 2023

The Mixtapes – The History

In designing The Mixtapes, several things inspired me.  First up, JamsBio, which I’ve discussed a little here.  Back in 2006/2007, I had the opportunity to write a series of articles for JamsBio, an online magazine celebrating the love of music, outlining my favorite songs/artists and what music meant to me.  I only wrote ten articles and JamsBio didn’t last, but it was the most fun I have ever had working, not to mention the easiest money I’ve ever made.  While I still wish I had thought to save those original articles, with The Mixtapes, I have the opportunity to start anew and build it correctly this time.

JamsBio isn’t the only inspiration.  As a teenager, I religiously watched Ali McBeal with my mom.  The show began each episode with Vonda Shephard playing a song that highlighted something on Ali’s mind.  It popularized the idea of a soundtrack to one’s life, and frankly, that idea never really left me.  Consider this that soundtrack.

Then there is Paul McCartney.  It is no secret that I am a huge Beatles, Wings, and Paul McCartney fan.  Do I love everything the man has ever done?  Not exactly.  Yet, he (and all of the Beatles) will always be in a category of their own.  Anyway, Paul McCartney published The Lyrics:  1956 to the Present in 2022.  While I have yet to read it (I know, I know …), the idea is incredible to me.  Essentially, Paul McCartney wrote a memoir that consists of the stories behind 154 of the songs he wrote.  It covers songs from all parts of his career – Beatles, Wings, solo, etc.  I can’t imagine a better gift to fans.  Even better, there is a Spotify playlist that covers all of the songs in The Lyrics in the order they appear in the book (alphabetically by song title).  When I finally do read it, I will be able to listen along as well.

So there you have it, the inspiration behind The Mixtapes.  Enjoy and feel free to share your own memories.

Madonna – Material Girl (1984)

Madonna – Material Girl (1984) (Official Video) (Lyrics)

(Written January 12, 2023)

Almost any early Madonna song immediately takes me back to my early childhood, thanks to several older female cousins who adored her.  I fell in love right along with them and every other girl on the planet.  The Queen of Pop rightfully deserves several entries here, and it is only right that I start with Material Girl.

It is easy to dismiss Material Girl as an ode to greed, a quintessentially ‘80s throwaway pop song.  Personally, I think that is a bit harsh, and frankly unfair, even if I believe Madonna’s music hasn’t aged particularly well.  

Yet, I keep coming back to the video.  Yes, there are diamonds and countless references to Marilyn Monroe.  There is also something timeless that introduced an entire younger generation to the glamor of old school Hollywood.  In the music video, there are even sequences at the beginning and end of the song that make the video just a bit less outrageously materialistic.  As a young girl obsessed with Disney princesses and Barbie, Madonna seemed to have it all:  style, grace, and she could sing too.

As I grew older, remaining a Madonna fan became harder and harder to defend.  I distinctly remember being embarrassed for her when she was photographed everywhere in a cone bra and released the book Sex.  I was all of 11.

As Madonna appears to be struggling with aging gracefully (that is another topic entirely), I can only hope that we as a society don’t write off her music entirely as time goes on.  For me at least, her earliest work – what made her a star, the Queen of Pop – will always be a cherished part of my childhood.  Grab some popcorn and enjoy the video!