Desert Island Discs

This is old.

I put this list together about 5 years ago.  Does it need an update? Not sure. I’ll muse over the weekend.

For now, here’s my favourite albums from when I was in my twenties (I was never cool).

You don’t have to agree with my choices, music is after all a very personal taste, but I hope my explanations let you see why I love these albums and what they mean to me.

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
The Flaming Lips (2002)

yoshimi

A lunatic concept album, but one chock full of superb songs and beautiful tunes. From the opening ”Fight Test” through ”Are you a Hypnotist?” and onto ”Do You Realize?” – every track is a gem. Lifts my soul and makes me want to be a cartoon robot – who can ask for more?

Favourite line:

“Do you realize? The sun don’t go down, it’s just an illusion caused by the world spinnin” round.”

All is Dream
Mercury Rev (2001)

all is dream

I really loved the previous album ”Deserter’s Songs” but this one totally eclipses that. It’s full of haunting, sparse ballads – the soundtrack to every Grimm fairytale ever written. It’s the sound of walking through a snowy forest at twilight with a full moon lighting the path.

Favourite Line:

“Vampires want darkness, Monsters want souls. Spiders want corners, but you want it all.”

Achtung Baby
U2 (1991)

achtung baby

Okay, so it gets a bit maudlin towards the end, but it’s so good I can forgive that. Stand out tracks? ”One”, ”So Cruel” & ”The Fly”.

Favourite Line:

“you’re honey child to a swarm of bees, gonna blow right through you like a breeze.”

Buena Vista Social Club
Various Artists (1997)

buena vista

Beautiful Cuban Jazz written and performed by an ensemble of experienced masters. Sunday mornings with a pot of coffee or Friday nights with plenty of red wine wouldn’t be the same without this album.

Favourite Line:

“When Juanika and Chan Chan sifted sand together on the beach, how her bottom shook and Chan Chan was aroused!”

Graceland
Paul Simon (1986)

graceland

I’ve always been a fan of Simon and Garfunkel, and would like to list the ”Paul Simon Anthology” here, but I’m trying to avoid Best Of… compilations in this list, so Graceland it is. It captures Paul Simon’s music on the cusp of American lyricism before he fully immersed himself in the world music scene, and is a stunning blend of cultures.

Favourite Line:

“who’ll be my role model now that my role model is gone? Gone. He ducked back down the alley with some roly-poly little bat-faced girl.”

Laid
James (1993)

laid

Mention James and most people think of ”Sit Down” the over-played student anthem. But they have so much more depth than that one song, and nowhere is that depth more eloquently captured than in this album. It’s gold-tinged guitar and gently rolling melodies sound as fresh as when I first heard it 11 years ago. It reminds me of sun-baked earth and cornfields, cool water and half-forgotten memories.

Favourite Line:

“I’m so alone tonight, my bed feels larger than when I was small. Miss the outline of your back, miss you breathing down my neck.”

Tanto Tempo
Bebel Gilberto (2000)

tanto tempo

I discovered this quite by accident while in Brisbane back in 2000 and had to have it. It’s a classy, contemporary take on classic Brazilian Samba sounds, and you can’t help but dance (which with me, is not pretty!).

Favourite Line:

“So nice, life would be so nice if you’ll take my hand and samba through life with me.”

Love in the Time of Science
Emiliana Torrini (1999)

love in the time of science

I think she’s from Iceland (I think), but she’s not as bonkers as Bjork. These songs just float by, which some may think is a bit insipid, but listen closely and you’ll hear a lot more going on than first meets the ears. I love her voice, it’s so unworldly – small wonder that she ended up singing a couple of tracks for the Lord of the Rings movies.

Favourite Line:

“Might have been a while since you’ve been loved like you should be loved. Might have been a while since you’ve been loved by someone who really loves you… …people like us are meant to go round in pairs.”

Suede
Suede (1992)

suede

Over the top? Check. Pretentious glam-rock posturing? Check. A bit rubbish towards the end of their career? Check. But, there’s’ no denying that when Suede’s debut single ”The Drowners” came around it re-invented the indie scene and paved the way for what became the Brit-pop movement (good and bad). This album simply swaggers out of the stereo and smacks you squarely with a limp-wristed tambourine every time. Which seems to be a good thing. Stand out tracks: ”Metal Mickey”, ”The Next Life”.

Favourite Line:

“Far away, we’ll go far away and flog ice creams ”til the company’s on its’ knees…”

Rubber Soul
The Beatles (1965)

Rubber Soul

Everyone has a favourite Beatles album, and this is mine. I love it because it marks a change in their sound that showed hints of where ”Sgt. Peppers…” would eventually come from. I love it because it egged Brian Wilson on to write ”Pet Sounds” (and it would be a crime if that had never happened). Mostly I love it because it makes me remember the Sixties (and I definitely wasn’t there!).

Favourite Line:

“She told me she worked in the morning and started to laugh. I told her I didn’t and curled up to sleep in the bath.”

Amelie OST
Yann Tiersen (2001)

Amelie

This film stole my heart when I first saw it back in 2001. I was already a fan of Delicatessen and the City of Lost Children, but this was something else, a love letter to a mythical Paris as much as a love story in its’ own right. The soundtrack here perfectly captures those feelings of warm glows and fuzzy tummies. It makes you want to reach for the Gitanes and Cognac and it always makes me do accordian mime, and you can’t say that about many things these days.

Favourite Line:

“Maybe it’s wrong, maybe it’s right, loving you dear like I do. If it’s a crime then I’m guilty, guilty of loving you.”

0898
The Beautiful South (1992)

0898

Like all Beautiful South records, this is fantastically twisted love songs nestled into radio-friendly melodies. Every track is genius, and as an album, the artwork is a perfect match for the word-play and imagery used in the tunes. Stand out tracks – ”We are each other”, ”36D”.

Favourite Line:

“No savings-book, no flannel slacks, no eyeing up the baby-sitter. I’ll trip up kids and I’ll drop my litter, when I’m 84.”

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