On my eleventh birthday I received a copy of a tape called “Rave ’92” through the post from my sister Grace, who was away at university. It was the second tape she had made for me whilst she was away, (the first being a random mix of grebo, soul, indie and ‘Love Shack’ by the B52s) and the 4th tape I owned in total – tapes 2 and 3 being the Best Of The Seekers and Roxette’s Joyride.
The inlay sleeve for my new tape had the tracklisting neatly written out in capital letters: black biro for the track title and red for the artist name all the way up until track 2, when the track titles were black and the artist names were red. On the inside of the inlay was written:
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATHERINE!!
p.s. Mum & Dad will really hate this! So PLAY IT LOUD“
1. The Prodigy – Fire
The opening song of any compilation is vital to its success and coherence. It must draw in the casual listener that might not otherwise consider investing the mix (perhaps opting for one containing ‘Sesame’s Treet’ instead), but also give an honest representation of the rest of the tracks to avoid resentment (and the inevitable trip to Music & Video Exchange).
2. House of Pain – Jump Around
Is this the most ubiquitous student disco song ever recorded?
3. The Shamen – Ebeneezer Goode
‘Ebeneezer Goode’ could theoretically have been about a man who was cheerful and who enjoyed the music of Vera Lynn…
I was eleven years old and even I knew it was entirely about drugs. So what? I was about as likely to drop an E as I was to grow another head.
4. Bizarre Inc – I’m Gonna Get You
I played my first gig in the autumn of 1992. Myself and my fellow bandmate Karina told our army of loyal fans (Helen, Emma, Helen and Emma’s little sisters, and Helen and Emma’s little sisters’ two mates) to assemble at the edge of the playground by the netball court post at afternoon break. Our audience waiting with baited breath, we plunged into our first* number:
5. Messiah – I Feel Love
After four tracks which could reasonably be labelled as ‘pop’, Rave ’92 finally starts the transition into hardcore proper.
6. Utah Saints – Something Good
Another mainstream chart hit for Rave ’92, one which has cemented itself into the consciousness of the Great British listening public thanks to that stuttering name-check announcement.
7. Mello Core – Good Feeling
Another great transition here – the final note of ‘Something Good’ dies out, exhausted after the Saints’ techno onslaught. In floats a soothing female voice over dreamy strings: “And my mind’s wide open baby, I won’t let this feeling go…” Hippy mush celebrating the pleasurable effects of substance abuse, perhaps –
8. 2 Unlimited – The Magic Friend
I have a terrible confession to make. Much as I love 2 Unlimited, I have never rated Ray’s rapping.
9. The Orb – Assassin
Another brilliant transition takes us from Anita’s dying echoes (“Don’t be afraid, it’s just the magic friend, friend, friend, friend…“) into a track that could be its polar opposite.