Saturday, December 15, 2012

Desert Island Discs - Part 1

A good friend of mine, John Durant, has recently undergone a surgical procedure.  I was thinking about him over the past few weeks as he begins recovery (safe and painless, hopefully).  He is a huge music buff - we share that in common.  We have similar tastes, in most cases.  In honor of him, I wanted to put together a 'Desert Island Disc' list with brief explanations.  It has nothing to do with triathlons, running, biking, etc. but after all it is the down season -haha.

These is essential music, in my opinion, in no particular order.  These are CD's that have change me life for the better.  They make me happy in the sense that they bring back memories, evoke emotions or just make me rock out.  Each has a unique purpose and and I love them...


U2 - Achtung Baby

This is a hard one.  U2 has produced some of the best music of all time, in my opinion.  I have friends that think otherwise (Dave Higham) but I think they are delusional.  I could have easily picked the Unforgettable Fire or Joshua Tree.  How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is also very good.  But Achtung Baby is a complete masterpiece from beginning to end.  I understand U2 was going through some internal issues at the time - fortunately for us that translated into some great music.  The early 90's were a great time for me, personally.  Newly married, full of promise and a great future.  I was knee deep into ASU and getting my B.S. when this came out.  It reminds me of that huge milestone for me.  This CD captures and brings back great memories.  Best tracks are.... All of THEM.

Depeche Mode - Violator

Ahhhh  Depeche Mode.  This is a group I have listened to for years.  Definitely not 'happy' music in the traditional sense and Violator is no exception.  I am a big fan of GOOD electronic music and these guys are the cornerstone of that type of music.  Cutting, brutal hooks and topics.  Violator is darker than some of their earlier music but songs like "Halo," "Policy of Truth" and "Enjoy the Silence" are some of my all time faves.  This CD is always on my playlist during the Fall - October. It is that kind of music and it reminds me of working for the Bank, early in my career, and again, going to ASU to get my degree.  Happy but hard times.  Violator provided a cool soundtrack for the Halloween season - one you can dance to.  For a good Mormon boy this was about is edgy as I got!

New Order - Substance

I am a HUGE New Order fan.  Lighter than Depeche Mode but still in the same vein.  I can listen to New Order anytime of the year.  Their music is timeless.  It has a great beat, it is unique.  You can listen to many songs on the radio and hear New Order influences.  New Order was an evolution from Joy Division and unlike some of my friends, I have never been a big fan of Joy Division.  Believe me, I have tried.  Just too dark and not enough pop to it.  Peter Hook and Bernard Sunmer are geniuses but more so in New Order.

Substance is a compilation double disc with some new tracks.  "Blue Monday," "True Faith," "Procession," "Perfect Kiss," "Bizarre Love Triangle," and "Thieves Like Us" are masterpieces.  This brings back memories of right after my mission to Brazil and coming back to Phoenix.  Going to Church dances at ASU.  Jamming to this in my car driving around Tempe.  I LOVE this band and I love this CD.

The Jayhawks - Tomorrow the Green Grass

In 1994 while living in my new home, Minneapolis (we had moved there following graduate school), I would go to the Best Buy listening stations to listen to music (remember those?).  I had never heard of this local band but as I listened to this CD.  I am so grateful.  I have been a huge fan ever since.  The Jayhawks are "alt country" with an incredible sense of harmony and great musicianship.  Over the years I have purchased all of their music - it is that good.  Picking a single CD was hard but given this was my introduction it gets the nod.

This is Summer Music and it reminds me of the great Summers in Minnesota.  You are so sick of the Winter that even the humidity and mosquitoes are easy to forget!  I remember the green, the lakes and the peace there.  Sipping on God's Nectar - Diet Mountain Dew - all while listening to the Jayhawks.

While in Minneapolis, I never got to see the band live.  The classic lineup broke up and moved in different directions.  Last year they got back together, made a new CD and toured.

They played a show at the Minnesota State Fair this Summer and I went!  It was a dream come true.  Most of you will not have heard of the Jayhawks - I invite you to take a listen and start with this CD



  1. Great list and a lot we agree on (and some not so much-- read on). Thanks for thinking of me. I will listen to them all in the coming day as a thank you. I have the time . I agree about the brilliance of Achtung Baby. It as perfectly as possible my moods in graduate school that year. It's something dissonant and divine. Also agree about Violator. It's undeniable genius. I think the Exciter album from about 2004 was equally good if one takes time to absorb it. I do not entirely agree about New Order vs. Joy Division. Ian Curtis' melancholy search for hope speaks to me in a complete way that New Order only does occasionally. Jayhawks was a delightful surprise. I probably favor Gin Blossoms more but neither would make my top playlist. If you don't mind I'll guest post on your blog and give you a Frozen Tundra Disc 1

    1. I would love to see your Frozen Tundra Disc 1. Bring it on!