The year was 2005, and technology played by different rules. Texts cost a nickel a piece. You had to go to thefacebook.com. And if you wanted to listen to a custom music playlist, you pretty much had to burn a CD. Which is exactly what my then 8-year old brother asked me to do.
The request: to make him a mix with “the James Bond theme, the Pirates of the Caribbean theme, that one song from Shrek 2, and whatever else to fill up the CD. And call it Taco Jamz. With a Z.”
I honestly didn’t think too hard when I filled the remaining 65 minutes of the disc. Just stuff that I liked that was relatively family friendly. Jimmy Eat World, Foo Fighters, and soundbites from Homestar Runner. The CD became the soundtrack for the family road trip when I moved into the freshman dorm later that year. My folks ended up listening to the mix more than my brother did.
Taco Jamz became an annual tradition. While the name stayed the same, the content was more deliberately selected. Each mix became a recap of the year, featuring songs from recent movies, associated with cultural events, obscure references, or from bands someone in the family had just seen. I’d usually round it out with whatever neat stuff I was listening to at the time.
Below, I present the official playlist for Taco Jamz 2017. I’ll post 2018 and 2019 soon enough. And the 2020 mix will be released by Christmas. I never actually kept a copy of the original mixes for myself, but as soon as I can steal them back from my parents, I’ll be posting those as well.