Rock Ballad Love Songs Best Listened to on Cassette Tape

* So, we've all got a pile of songs in our brains that have become inexplicably associated to a very specific time and place, like that Firehouse song from 7th grade that transports you back to the cafeteria-cum-dance floor and the adolescent love/hate dalliance that set your pants a blaze. Hormones, Firehouse and 7th grade dances. Oh, my.

* There's also that cheesy Whitesnake song, whenever I hear it, I'm 8 and riding the school bus. Ears are covered with those foamy headphones and that song is blaring on my walkman. The cassette tape is one I took from my uncle who was 17 and lived with us at the time. I can smell the gravel road and the plastic bus seat.

* Guys, remember Warrant? Remember the song "Heaven?" Whenever I hear this, I remember long summer days at the lake with the kids of my parent's friends, who are still my friends now. We got to drink generic sodas, get a suntan and wear wet swimsuits all day. Now we drink cheap beer, but we wear sunscreen and remain dry.

* What about Mr. Big's epic "To Be With You"...come on, you want to sing along! We didn't have cable or MTV, but my friend did, and I saw the video and almost died at a very young age. Just crank it. So silly, sooo good. It's okay if you watch the video twice, secret's safe here. I've linked the karaoke version just for you.

* Finally, REO Speedwagon's "Keep on Lovin' You" is so out of control, you can't even stand it. The slow build, the pianos and guitar solo; dudes, the heartbreaking story of lost love. I'm pretty sure this song was on the radio the first time I drove my mom's Thunderbird on the back roads into the sunset. A summer driving lesson. These days I'm really partial to a version by Evan Dando.

So, those are some of my guilty cassette tape-era guilty pleasures. What're yours?


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