Yuppie A stares at himself in the mirrored closet door. He’s having a crisis in white male fragility. Wife II divorced him, taking both the SAAB and son Jonathan. Passed over on the big promotion due to “passivity.” Spilled V8 on the white over-stuffed couch. But a mysterious new client, Stefano, understands. He knows the “way.” Won’t you listen?
This is a playlist about the paradox of sentiment and spiritual bankruptcy in post-jazz music of the late 1980s early 1990s. I wanted to musically explore the debasement of jazz in this period, the feeling of excitement and wrongness when Miles Davis covers Scritti Politti. But most of all, I was thinking about the heternormativity, gender binarism, and hyper-masculinity of early 1990s commercial advertising, adult contemporary music, and any film with James Spader from 1984-7.
I tried to curate tracks that stood-out from the usual sludge of New age/Rock/Smooth Jazz/R&B fusion, and I hope each song hits that perfect blend of almost inspirational sincerity, non-reflexivity, and musical virtuosity.
Be warned, this is a playlist unafraid of passionate sax and guitar solos, which were in just about every imaginable song of the period and genre. Sanford Ponder’s “Oly” sounds like Bill Clinton playing a personal concert at your 1994 McDonald’s birthday party. Specific attention was paid to songs with odd or one-off production details, whether it be a random pitch-shift in David van Tieghem’s “Flying Hearts,” stock whip noises in David Benoit’s “Wild Kids,” or basically the Duracell battery sound-trademark in Michael Colina’s “The Shadow of Urbano.”
Much of the concept shines through in song titles (which I swear to god I did not make up) like “Masculine Magic,” “Wild Kids,” “You Understand,” and “I Hate You.” It’s the perfect soundtrack for sharing Folgers coffee with a generic white nuclear family, finishing a marathon, or careening down the Golden Gate Bridge in a mid-sized sedan.
1. The Shadow of Urbano – Michael Colina -1988
2. Flying Hearts – David Van Tieghem – 1989
5. Many Chinas – Mark Isham – 1983
6. Sky Juice – Patrick O’Hearn – 1987
6. Winkin’ Blinkin’ & Nod – Carlos Alomar – 1987
7. Redstone – Synergy – 1987
8. Perfect Way – Miles Davis – 1986
9. Oly – Sanford Ponder – 1986
10. Heart of the Matter – Jonathan Gibbs -1983?
11. It Was You After All – Richard Souther -1986
12. Amber Whispers – Wally Badarou – 2001
12. Gib Mir – Purple Schulz – 1987
13. I Hate You – Jerry Goodman – 1988
14. You Understand – The Zawinul Syndicate – 1988
15. Masculine Magic – Software – 1991
15. Wild Kids – David Benoit – 1989