Monday, December 17, 2012

Desert Island Discs - Part 2

Here is the second part of my list of greatest CDs of all time.  Ones I couldn't do without on some sort of an isolated tropical island.  No particular order and not including any "Greatest Hits" packages, yet.  Also, only including one work of art from any particular band....


The Clash - Combat Rock

For sure, London Calling is probably their greatest overall album.  I absolutely love it also (as well as Sandinista).  It's just that Combat Rock was issued at the tail end of my High School time and it brings back such incredible memories.  "Rock the Casbah" and "Should I Stay or Should I Go" are great tunes but they are actually not the reason I would pick Combat Rock. It's the other songs that capture me.  This was the tail end of the Clash as we know it.  It was also when they were becoming one of the most popular bands, ever.  Joe Strummer is probably my favorite front man.  Political.  Smart.  Willing to take risks.

The Clash transcended punk by fusing reggae and world music with the natural angst of their roots.  It was melodic music with an edge. They raised awareness and they didn't apologize.  One of my favorite all time bands.

This was the soundtrack to my Junior/Senior year Summer in AZ.  Timeless.

The Police - Synchronicity

The Police are one of my favorite bands.  I never saw them in concert and I really regret it.  I own all of their music - Zenyatta Mondatta is also very good, as is Ghost in the Machine.  Synchronicity, though, was their apex.  They were hitting on all cylinders when they made this, their last CD together.  It would have won Album of the Year if not for another very important CD that year - Thriller, by Michael Jackson.

Interestingly, this was one of my CDs that I played so much I couldn't listen to it for years afterward.  Funny how that is.  "King of Pain" is my favorite.  We always tried to get the Church Dance DJ's to play it but they never would - they said no one would dance to it.  They would, however, play it at the end of the dance as the lights came on and everyone left for home!

"Every Breath You Take, " "Wrapped Around My Finger," and the title track (I not II) are also very good.  Reminds me of a trip we took to Balboa Beach, California one Summer in High School.  Great memories and great music.

Radiohead - In Rainbows

Eccentric.  Brilliant.  Strange.  Cutting edge.  There are many acronyms people use to describe Radiohead's music.  They are unique and defy clear categorization.  Head music - makes you think.  In truth, I can't listen to Radiohead all the time.  They are a band I have to be 'in the mood for' but even that is hard to describe.  Winter in Calgary comes to mind but that is as good as I can describe it.

In Rainbows is incredible.  If I listen to a single album by Radiohead, it is this one.  Cover to cover this is great music.  It has great beats.  Slow.  Fast.  Key changes.  I purchased the video versions in iTunes also.  The musicianship is incredible (Dave Higham would be proud) and you can see that the live versions are as good as what they put out on CD.  "15 Step," "Bodysnatchers," "All I Need," "Reckoner," "Jigsaw Falling into Place" are outstanding.  Listen to the whole thing and you will be taken to another world.

The Killers - Day & Age

It's no secret the Killers are one of my favorite bands.  Interestingly, I didn't like them in the beginning.  They were, for me at least, a sweet acquired taste.  Another interesting fact is their debut album (the one most popular on iTunes) is also my least favorite Killers CD.  I love Sam's Town.  I love Sawdust.  I love Battle Born.  But my favorite has to be Day & Age.

It has a lot of pop sensibility with great songs, great lyrics and great performances.  It is slick.  It is commercially savvy and I don't care.  The videos are good and Brandon Flowers is one heck of a front man.  "Human." "Joyride," "Dustland Fairytale," and "This is Your Life" are my favorites.  It is really a complete album, though, as all the songs are very good.  "A Crippling Blow" was a B-Side that isn't included on all the versions - still a very good song.  I recommend it.



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