Yazoo – Situation

Over the weekend I finally bought a car to replace the one I’ve been driving for the past four years. I needed something that was cheap but reliable, didn’t already have too many miles on it, and gets good gas mileage. I bought a ’99 Toyota, very basic (manual everything still) but I hope it will be good.

Given that it’s a real no-frills car, the stereo doesn’t have a CD player, and it’s of course too old for an auxiliary jack for an mp3 player, but it does have a tape deck. My husband had an old Saab for a while that had a tape deck but it didn’t work. Mine works! So as long as it’s working I thought I would haul out my old tapes and listen to things I haven’t listened to in a really long time. It’s perfect for my long commute. I’ll pick a tape from my stash then write them up here as tape deck Tuesday, like throwback Thursday, or the once a month Where I Lived Wednesday that I love doing. It should be entertaining, especially as I seem to have a large number of tapes without any identifying marks whatsoever. I had this theory that my siblings would be less likely to steal my tapes if they didn’t know what was on them as they would just not take the time or risk to find out. That was a fine plan when I knew the difference between what I’d taped on the 90min TDK with the red label versus the Maxell with the blue label. Now it’s all lost to time and I’ll find out as I drive to work.

This first tape deck Tuesday (guess I should hashtag that) features an old tape my oldest sister made. It’s titled “New House/Xmas ’83” and she made it at Christmas, our last spent in our house in New York as my mother had finally found a house for us to live in up in Maine. My oldest sister had just graduated from college earlier in May and she had been living in the house and commuting in to Manhattan. She had made some other tapes that are legendary in our family (if I can find them, they’ll probably appear on some other Tuesday), but I think this is the last one from that time period. We spent that Christmas break packing up the house and this tape was pretty heavily in rotation.

It’s a curious mix, like her tapes could be, some big radio hits, other lesser known songs that my sister just liked, and very 1982/1983. This song is the fourth track on side B. When I picked up my 8-year-old son from school today he was so excited to ride in the “new” car. As I started up the engine and the music started playing he asked if it was one of my tapes and I replied yes, it was one my sister had made. He gasped and said, “She made it?! How could she make a tape?! That is sooo cool! Can we make one?!” He has seen my Walkman before and knew you could listen to music on tapes but I guess I just never bothered to explain the whole culture surrounding it. Honestly, I didn’t think he would be that interested or have the attention to span to listen to me rattle on about how much work was involved, etc.

I did, just today in fact, see some blank Maxell’s for sale when I went to a store to buy some other things for the car. I don’t have a cassette player for my stereo anymore (just my Walkman and now the car) but there’s one sitting in my mother’s basement. I don’t remember if that one works but I told him we could check it out next time we’re visiting and maybe we could bring it home and make a tape together.

If you’re curious, here’s the track list. 

Side A:
Let Me Go (Heaven 17)
She Works Hard for the Money (Donna Summer)
Thriller (Michael Jackson)
Say Say Say (MJ and Paul McCartney)
Church of the Poisoned Mind (Culture Club)
Safety Dance (Men Without Hats)
Modern Love (David Bowie)
Let Them Talk/Every Day I Write the Book/The World and His Wife (Elvis Costello)
Our House (Madness)

Side B:
It’s My House/My Old Piano (Diana Ross)
Only You/Situation (Yazoo – or Yaz)
Maneater (Hall & Oates)
Time Out of Mind (Steely Dan)
Uptown Girl (Billy Joel)
PYT (Michael Jackson)
Our Lips are Sealed (the Go-go’s)
(Naive Melody) This Must Be the Place (Talking Heads)
All Night Long (Lionel Richie)


  1. I love that you didn’t label your tapes to prevent theft. My daughter and her friends have been sharing “mixed tapes” lately (but really mixed CDs). I was just thinking that I should make her one of the songs that stuck with me most. I bet I could even get a blog post out of that.
    Great post, Ellen.


    1. You should do it! I love that your daughter and her friends are carrying on a great tradition. Making a mixed CD is easier than making a mixed tape because it’s less math, less time to create, but you do still have to put the thought in and pay attention to the time limit. I’m glad to know these simple pleasures in life are not totally lost on the next generation. 😉


  2. Wow – trip down memory lane in the new ride! I love the track list. That is like a really good afternoon of MTV. Yaz, Go-Gos, Madness…etc. Oh, and Safety Dance! Isn’t it funny that kids don’t fully understand the whole mixtape thing and it was such a part of our lives. I have soooo many tapes. I like the idea of tape deck Tuesday.


    1. Play along!

      I will consider myself a successful parent if I can pass down the art of crafting the perfect tape to even just one of my children.


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