Desert Island Albums

September 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

I think at least once everyone is asked his or her desert island records (is it deserted island? I’ve heard both used before). That said, in an age where an iPod is smaller than a record, I’d rather crash on this said island with an iPod full of my favourites and a charger. I figure if you can have electricity to play these records, you can charge your iPod.

Alright, I’ll do my Top Four as of September 27, 2010 Desert Island Albums. In no particular order. I was going to do top five, but as soon as I need to add a fifth album I want to add six more. I mean, where’s my shoegaze, punk, motown, bad radio hits I remember from my childhood, twee, post-punk, girl groups, David Bowie….

1. Odessey and Oracle by The Zombies

So I used to hate The Zombies based entirely on “Time of the Season”, and unfortunately, I was born 20 years after this record came out, which means this song had two decades to be ruined by countless commercials and cheesy films. By the time I came around, the song had become synonymous with a particular era and genre of nostalgic film, and usually, they were pretty crap movies. So about five or six years ago, I heard something else by The Zombies and thought it was fantastic! I only even listened to “She’s Not There” because I heard the Malcolm McLaren cover (which pales in comparison, by the way). This brought me to the album, and in the context of Odessey and Oracle, “Time of the Season” is actually a great song–not my favourite though. I love this album for its production, use of pop, jazz, rock, vocal harmonies, melotron, phaser effects and songwriting. It’s good in the summer, but for me, I like it best when I’m feeling depressed and it’s winter.

2. Singles by The Smiths

It’s unfashionable to choose a greatest hits collection for a favourite record. Well, Singles isn’t my favourite record by The Smiths, however, for economy’s sake I can get most of my favourite songs by the group here. As much as I love The Smiths, I can’t say I could bring their entire discography with me on to a desert island and nothing else. This was one of my first releases by The Smiths. It was my introduction, along with Louder Than Bombs (weird choice, I know, but it was on sale). I think as far as getting most of the key songs, it does a pretty good job. I wouldn’t say The Smiths were a singles band strictly, but their singles were usually well-picked. It’s hard to find a bad song by The Smiths.

3. Know Your Enemy by Manic Street Preachers

Things that piss me off: typing in “know your enemy” into Google images and getting a bunch of Green Day, and the fact Know Your Enemy by Manic Street Preachers is so often slagged off. So fans might say it’s a crap album, I think it’s brilliant. It’s political, heartfelt, full of rage and desire and the weirdest, buzziest production I’ve heard. The songs are all over the place, yes. You get punky moments, followed by strange 60s doo-woop inspired tunes, somber acoustic songs followed by screwed up disco, and a McCarthy cover. I like it, I feel like I’m listening to a mental breakdown and getting all the beautiful details and all the gory ones too.

4. In Ghost Colours by Cut Copy

Hey even on empty islands I may want to party. I’ve championed Cut Copy since I saw their earnest attempt at playing a live show opening for Franz Ferdinand to a disinterested audience in 2005. I think this record is a masterpiece of pop, electronica and rock. Let me tell you why: it’s smart. The music uses great keyboard hooks, dancey drums and actually really good guitar, with pulsing bass lines. Actually, the only thing that could make the music better would be a more distinct singer, but I’m not complaining. This is what happens when indie rock fans write dance music, that’s the secret. So, it’s a few years old. Well, I wouldn’t take a brand new album I’m just recently in love with on to this island because I’d probably get sick of most stuff I’m really into, as most of us do.

5. Joy Division? David Bowie? The Beatles? Kate Bush? The Supremes? Felt? Blur? Orange Juice? Lush? My Bloody Valentine? Galaxie 500? Suede? Lloyd Cole and The Commotions?

Can I have satellite radio on this island?

There is something to be said for an album you listen to for the way that it’s put together and the way the songs fit. With the exception of Singles, I’d say these are great albums in that aspect. They are meant to be listened to as wholes, which is part of their appeal–being hypothetically trapped on an island gives a person a lot of spare time.

-Stay Gold, please


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