Did you ever play that game as a kid? “If you were stranded on a deserted island, what five (or ten or however many) things would you take with you?” I know I did… and I did quite frequently! (I was one bored kid!) My friends and I pondered the question relentlessly and carefully, obsessing over what we’d really need versus what we wanted. Matches? Nah.. who needs that? I’ll take my Spice Girls poster instead! A flare gun? Psht. Please. I’m taking my Olympic Gymnast Barbie.
I’m not the only one fascinated by this question and this idea of “what would I need to survive on my own?”
The BBC (Radio 4) have been running a program since 1942 called Desert Island Discs. They interview celebs, politicians and writers about what five “singles” (originally records) they’d take with them if they were stranded on a deserted island as well as one book and one “luxury item”. It’s very interesting to see what songs people have chosen to “take” with them. You can find out more about Desert Island Discs here.
Since it’s Friday (though not the end of the work week for me) and sunny and I haven’t blogged in what feels like ages, I thought I might have a bit of fun and go with the Desert Island Discs idea and tweak it a bit: instead of songs I’m going to choose full albums and give a reason why I chose them as well as the “standout” track that makes the album irreplaceable for me.
So, if I were stranded on a deserted island with an iPod with infinite battery life but only five albums on it, those albums would be:
1. Oasis – “What’s the Story Morning Glory?”
I chose this album because I absolutely love it. I’ve been listening to it for years and can associate something different with just about every track on there. The first time I ever heard the album in full was on my walkman on the way to my great-grandfather’s funeral. I know it sounds odd that this is the album I had on at the time, but I’d just gotten it as a gift from a friend who said it would “take my mind off things.” And while Oasis’s monster-hit of an album didn’t necessarily change the day for me, it did keep me from completely losing it.
Standout Track(s): (I couldn’t choose just one for this) “Roll With It” and “Don’t Look Back in Anger.”
2. Girl Talk – “All Day”
This album is a current favourite, though I actually didn’t like it on the first couple of listens. Girl Talk is actually Gregg Gillis a mash-up artist who can take just about any 2-5 songs you give him and mash them all together to create an amazing piece of music so infectious that you won’t be able to stop listening over and over and over. “All Day” is his newest album and is my “gangsta” choice, as he’s somehow managed to infuse rap, classic rock and top 40 all together. It’s positively amazing and I can listen to the album the whole way through without skipping anything over.
Standout Track: It’s hard to choose one as the album is actually meant to be listened to as one long track from start to finish (it is, after all, something you’d play in a dance club) but for people like me he did split the long track up into 12 smaller tracks. If I had to pick one, I’d pick track 2, “Let it Out” simply for the few seconds where he mixes ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky” with a few other rap songs. Genius.
3. The Beatles – “1’s”
This was my first ever Beatles album. While it’s not my favourite by any means and is missing some of my absolute favourite Beatles tracks (“And Your Bird Can Sing,” “You Won’t See Me,” “For No One” etc) it does have a lot of fantastic songs on it. It’s how I was introduced to my favourite band and the album is still one of my top ten most played albums. There’s no more real explanation needed as to why I chose a Beatles hits album—it’s common sense.
Standout Track: “Hey Jude”
4. Carbon Leaf – “Indian Summer”
I really surprised myself when I chose this album. This is the only Carbon Leaf album I’ve ever heard (they have several) and they’re not a hugely popular or widely known band. And to be blunt, I didn’t realize how much I loved “Indian Summer” until about five seconds ago. Still, this album, no matter what song I listen to or what’s going on in my life, reminds me of my first fall/winter at uni. I’d never heard of them until going to some silly campus concert by some unknown artist. There weren’t many people there and the girl sitting next to me asked me, quite randomly, if I’d heard of Carbon Leaf before? I hadn’t, but I did go back to my dorm and look them up. I remember ordering “Indian Summer” used from Amazon (hey, I was a poor student) and immediately falling in love with it. It fit in with everything going on at the time—big changes, breakups, new loves, more breakups and lazy days under the fall trees with a book. And every time I put the album on, I can’t help but think back on that first year and remember everything that happened—the good, the bad and the (extremely) ugly.
Standout Track: “Changeless” God… this was such a “oh my god I’m suffering with heartbreak blah blah blah” song. And I still love it.
5. Ike Reilly Assassination – “We Belong to the Staggering Evening”
Another surprise on my list. Another lesser known band with another fantastic album. “Staggering Evening” is dirty, gritty and bluesy rocky. That’s the best way I can describe it, and even all of my “y” words don’t do it justice. I heard the track “Charcoal Days and Sterling Nights” on a music blog years ago and was immediately hooked from the start of the song with its crackly, record-like beginning. This album, quite simply, rocks my socks.
Standout Track: “Charcoal Days and Sterling Nights” (I couldn’t find a video for the song so I’ve posted a video for another of their songs off of a different album.)
Book: “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” by Carson McCullers. I have always loved this book and have read it a million and one times and it never gets old or any less emotional for me.
Luxury Item: Does my husband count? I guess not. My luxury item would be… booze? Hm. No. My luxury item would be a water purifier. God. You can tell I’ve grown up when instead of “booze” or “chocolate” or whatever I choose a water purifier. Jeeze.
What albums/book/luxury item would YOU take?