In my teenhood, I used to make mixtapes on a daily basis, recording things from the radio. Sometimes, I knew exactly what I wanted to record and would wait during chart shows and during the hours certain deejays would be on, because they would be the ones most likely to play the songs. Occasionally, random songs get into the mix. One of those very very random recordings has been haunting me for years. It was a spanish number, and I assumed it was Mexican. To be honest, I recorded it because I thought it was Luis Miguel, but this song was something different. Something yearning about it, something about the different elements in the song just captured the imagination. Sadly, for years and years, I couldn’t figure out the song title, the singer and the year the album came out. And then, last week, a tiktok featuring a Juan Luis Guerra song had me take notice.
“That’s the voice!” I exclaimed, and immediately went searching for his discography, narrowing in on 1990-1991 because it was around that time that I recorded the song from the radio. The song was Estrellita y Duendes, and Guerra is a Dominican singer and composer who is apparently a very big deal. I’ve since listened to Bachata Rosa (the album) several times. I’m also really tickled at how intensely creepy while whimsical the lyrics are. Haha. Little Stars and Goblins! That would have really fit into the mood of much of my teenhood writings and imaginings! So, today’s time travel is a mixture of tracks from my 1991 mixtapes.
Estrellita y Duendes — Juan Luis Guerra
You — Ten Sharp
Stars — Simply Red
Honestly, like Crowded House and Belinda Carlisle, Simply Red should be disqualified from this list because the moment their new albums came out I was hightailing it to Penang (my teenhood was mostly in Sungai Petani, Kedah, a sleepy rural town surrounded by rice paddy fields back then) to buy ORIGINAL *gasps in broke teenager saving her food money for this* cassettes.
Set Adrift on Memory Bliss — PM Dawn
Right Here, Right Now — Jesus Jones
Crazy — Seal
More Than Words — Extreme
Saltwater — Julian Lennon
I Touch Myself — Divinyls
I’m Too Sexy — Right Said Fred
I used to annoy friends in HS by warbling this early in the morning!
Thus ends today’s time travel. Off I go to the writing mines. Honestly, I may have to do more than one 1991 post. I made sooo many mixtapes between 1990-1991 that I can’t play because I need to source a cassette player. The videotapes are lost to time but aye, many many VHS compilations existed of music videos.