Old Mixes

I did it.

I said I’d clean out two closets by the end of the year and while I’d all but resigned myself to missing the mark, due to a hectic social calendar this week. But then yesterday, when I arrived at the time I’d set aside for finishing The Hateful Eight, I instead found myself diving headlong into the purge, sorting through two massive boxes of CDs, photos and other junk I’ve accumulated through the years and finally getting the second closet cleaned out. Phew.

It was hard going through the CDs. Each one is a potent black hole of hazy memories and seditious waves of sentimentality that could arrest me in my tracks as I slipped back through the years to the time of purchase, when the music was fresh and vibrant. I mainly resisted the urge to slip into the vortex, although even as I set each CD into the donation pile, I kept wading into that weird hoarder mindset of, “What happens if I want to listen to this someday?” or “This CD has sentimental value to me, so I’d better hold onto it.” Of course, the fact that I’d not opened either box since moving into this house provided valuable guidance as to just how valid such concerns really were. Eventually I bit the bullet, assuming that a greater freedom awaited me after parting ways with the likes of White Zombie, Go to Blazes and the J. Geils Band’s Greatest Hits. Of course, nearly all of the CDs I’ve ditched are widely available on Spotify, iTunes and YouTube so in the unlikely event that I’m suddenly possessed of a ferocious need to throw on some R.E.M., I’m covered.

Then there’s the whole deal of me not having a CD stereo system anymore. Shit, I can’t remember the last time I did. Boston, maybe? The only way for me to listen to an audio CD now is in my old MacBook. And yes, I flirted with the idea of offering some kid a hundred bucks to burn all of my CDs onto the Mac and then transferring them into my iTunes library but again, why? That’s a lot of work to access music that I can get for free on Spotify. Except Sinéad Lohan.

I don’t remember how I first came across her music, but I know it was in 1998, just shortly after her album, No Mermaid, was released. It’s a stunning album, full of lush acoustic textures, driving Celtic beats, gorgeous ambient soundscapes and Sinéad’s hushed, velvety purr. A fantastic chill out album and one that brought me untold hours of relaxation and restoration through the close of the 90s, well into those heady Noughties. I’d just moved back to the States from Sweden – my failed experiment in expat life – and I was reconnecting with Chicago, running marathons, working in an IT consultancy and spending the weekends downing as much booze and drugs as my gullet could hold. No Mermaid enjoyed prominence on my running mixes but it was most popular at around 3 a.m. when I was home, alone and coming down from my heroic revelry. She never missed the mark.

No Mermaid isn’t on Spotify, so I’m not sure what happened to her after that album. You can find her on a few compilations, including a countrified version of Whatever It Takes on a country collection. I looked her up on Facebook and was simultaneously delighted to find her there and disappointed to see that there’s been no sign of life on her artist page since last year and no evidence of a follow-up. Would love to interview her for the site and shot her a note to inquire. Fingers crossed.

In the meantime, here she is, in all her melodic majesty.