‘The To Do List’s Maggie Carey Picks 10 Essential ’90s Albums

Photo courtesy of The To Do List/Facebook

First-time writer/director Maggie Carey says she loosely based the protagonist of her new bawdy comedy The To Do List on herself. In the 1993-set movie, main character prim high school valedictorian Brandy Klark (played by Parks and Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza), makes a very sexually explicit “To Do List,” which she proceeds to check off items on the summer after high school graduation to gain sexual experience and lose her V-card before college begins. And while the character and Carey do share several commonalities, the film is fiction. “I was a teenager who graduated high school in 1993 in Boise, Idaho. I was also a lifeguard at a pool. I was incredibly Type A, I took every AP class possible, I was also on student council, played a ton of sports — I was a total jock, so I was a very high achieving high school student,” Carey intimates. “And also completely boy crazy. So, I feel like the point of view of the protagonist is absolutely close to who I was in high school. I remained a virgin all through high school, however.”

In the film, music plays a big part, from its comedic and setting usage to ephemera. Brandy Klark’s bedroom is littered with CDs and the walls are lined with rock posters. “All the posters in Brandy’s room are from my college and high school years. I saved them all,” says Carey. Mixtapes also ruled Carey’s high school years, so naturally some of the movie’s funniest moments are buoyed by music that appeared on her own high school mixtapes, from the ubiquitous (MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This”) to mainstream radio staples (Naughty By Nature’s “O.P.P.”) and college radio faves (Big Head Todd & The Monsters’ “Bittersweet,” James’ “Laid,” Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You”).

Hive caught up with Carey to get her Most Essential ‘90s Album List. Here are her must-haves, in no particular order.

1. Built To Spill, There’s Nothing Wrong With Love (1994)

“Sadly, we couldn’t get their song in the movie. We had a really, really low budget for our film, but Built To Spill is a Boise band and I’m a huge fan of theirs and that album, There’s Nothing Wrong with Love, we listened to a ton. And the songs “Car” and “Distopian Dream Girl,” I temped the movie with a lot of those songs, and then we couldn’t get them. I was very sad,” says Carey.

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