Any conversation I have about music invariably turns into a “desert island top 5 list” discussion. The premise is, of course, what 5 albums would I have to have with me if I was stranded on a desert island?
That desert island, of course, would have the latest in stereo technology…Sooooo…Suspension of disbelief there.
Any way, my answers to this question change as time goes on usually…But I do have some staples that I always come back to:
In no particular order:
1) The Clash – “London Calling”
For me, this is quintessential Clash. Catchy and bursting with energy, this album bounces around from genre to genre seamlessly. From hard rock, to reggae to pop, every track here is a winner. I’ve listened to several other Clash albums and have always found tasty nuggets here and there on each of them. This album however, is all killer and no filler.
It helps, I guess that I also have a sense of nostalgia when listening to this, as it was always one of my parents’ go-to’s when I was growing up. I think I was the only 9-year old on the school bus that knew the words to “London Calling”…
2) The Very Best of Elvis Costello and the Attractions
On a lot of these types of lists, people will always say “No greatest hits!”. Screw that. Given the fact that, in my opinion, Elvis Costello is rather inconsistent in the quality of his recordings, and that he hasn’t had a decent album in years (most of his records in the 00’s have been almost unlistenable), I’ll have to allow this greatest hits collection.
Collecting the gems from ’77-’86, this is really all you need from that era of EC. Another nostalgic choice from me as well, as my parents always had this shit playing in the background.
Be warned however, there are several greatest hoits collections out there from EC. All are usually pretty good. A runner-up to this choice would be “Girls, Girls, Girls”. Solid, all around.
3) Crystal Method – “Vegas”
This one might seem out there, but hear me out. I truly feel that this album is one of the best things to come out of the 90’s music scene, in any genre. Sure, it’s techno, or electronica, or whatever. But this LP really blows the ears off of amy perceptions most have had about the genre.
Pulsing beats with heavy elements of rock, hip-hop and even smooth soul melodies, this is an album that I can alternately put on to rock out to or just chill and relax. Their follow ups have always been good, but nothing so far has touched the core of what the Crystal Method is about to me like this album.
4)Ben Folds – “Ben Folds Live”
Probably considered another greatest hits compilation, this live album really showcases Ben Folds at what he does best: play live. Fantastic renditions of tracks from the BFF days as well as selections from his solo work. Truly is guaranteed to make you smile.
Try to not sing along to the trumpet and sax orchestration as BF conducts the audience. You can’t. Pure showmanship.
5) U2 – “The Joshua Tree”
Truth be told, I could probably put any number of U2 albums in this place and it would work just fine. I chose Joshua Tree because, simply, its a strong, brilliant album. For me, it seems that U2 made an extremely personal album with this one and shared it with the world. Its really good. Its that simple.
A friend of mine “borrowed” this from me several years ago. I’ve never gotten it back, so in actuality, I haven’t heard this album in over a decade. The fact that it is even considered to be on this list is a testament to it’s quality.
So there is this iteration of the Top 5 Desert Island discs. I noticed, there isn’t really any classic rock or anything there. Now that doesn’t mean that some Zeppelin wouldn’t fit right in on a desert isle, it’s just not what Im into at the moment. The list is highly malleable….as it probably should be.