Monday, March 15, 2010

Desert Island Essentials: Music

In a somewhat recurring feature, I'm going to take a look at the ultimate in banal conversation: desert island survival kit, in specific mediums. To start, let's take a look at my ten desert island discs. Caveat emptor: I'm not sticking to rigorous rules; this is my blog, and I'll arbitrarily designate rules of my own.

1.
The Beatles - The Beatles (aka the White Album)
While this isn't the best album by The Beatles, it is my personal favourite, if only because of emotional connections. I received this for my birthday when I was like 13 or something, and I stayed up until 2 am, listening to it over and over again. This is essential to me, because it represents all that I love about the band: masterful pop music, experimentation, introspection, and playfulness.

2.
Pink Floyd - The Wall
Again, the same can be said of this album: not the band's finest, but my personal favourite. I used to listen to the second disc at work, over and over again, savoring each moment, even though I knew what would happen. The Wall remains one of the best concept albums ever, and some of David Gilmour's most impressive guitar solos.

3.
Alexisonfire - Crisis
I thought Watch Out! was great. I loved it. Then Crisis came out, and I just stopped listening to the previous album. Crisis is just so fun, so sonically dynamic, so energetic. This is an album that could get me through any tedious task, any depression.

4.
Atreyu - Lead Sails Paper Anchor
Almost similar situation. I loved The Curse, but dropped it as soon as Atreyu's fourth album came out. Almost the same compliments can be paid: dynamic, fun, anthemic, and never boring. Not a single skipper in the bunch.

5.
City and Colour - Bring Me Your Love
I listen to this album almost daily. It's saved on my Playstation, and if I ever need to listen to something while cleaning or blogging, this is what I listen to. So emotional, so beautiful, and always makes me want to sing along.

6.
Rocky Horror Picture Show - The Soundtrack
Fun fact about me: I can sing the entire soundtrack from memory without any cues or prompting, and I've proven it. I know every single nook and cranny, note and bar from this soundtrack. I've listened to this album a million times and I never, ever get tired of it.

7.
Tool - Ænima
While I could do without the filler tracks, like the angry German cookie recipe, every instance of song is just so engaging. Maynard James Keenan's singing pulls you into whatever story or feeling; his emoting is, frankly, unmatched. I feel his pain and anguish in every line. It helps that he's backed by one of the strongest, technically speaking, bands ever. I love this CD.

8.
Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel (aka 4 or Security)
From the opening salvo of African intensity, to the hypnotic "Shock The Monkey" to the percussive stomping final track, this is such a cohesive and brilliant album. As always, Gabriel is prescient about rhythms and touches in music, always one step ahead of the curve. Easily his strongest collection of songs he's ever put out.

9.
Moxy Früvous - Bargainville
This is almost embarrassing, this choice. I've probably owned this album longer than anything else on this list, and it remains forever a mainstay in my collection. The songs are fun, catchy, often upbeat, and sometimes political. Most people only remember Moxy Früvous for "King of Spain" but I remember them for the haunting "Gulf War Song" or the stunning "River Valley"

10.
Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
This is a tough one for me. To select only one album from this artist is an exercise in frustration. But, I must go with his first double album, if only because it's complex, fun, and poppy often all at the same time. His voice had never been so crisper (he finally managed to learn how to properly sing falsetto), and the musicianship reached its apex for all band members. This is an essential and fantastic portrait of 70's era pop at its height. I love this album.

So there you have it, my ten Desert Island Essentials for music. Check back soon for Essentials on other mediums. Thanks for reading.

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