Friday, March 4, 2011

Desert Island Music

Let's take a break from religion and politics for something a little lighter. I'm sure you have all heard the old hypothetical, "If you were stranded on a desert island what would you want with you....?" Well this is my response to that question from a musical standpoint. Or to frame it another way, if you could only have certain albums (look it up youngsters, it's what we used to call CD's, which would you take. The following is in no certain order after the first one anyway.

  • From Elvis in Memphis (Legacy Edition): The King's best...Maybe the best thing ever recorded period. Recorded at American Sound Studios in Memphis with the legendary Chips Moman producing. Elvis was fresh off his "Comeback" special and wanted to return to his roots a little bit. A lot of what he recorded at those sessions were covers of old country tunes, which he did amazing work on. He covered a more modern country hit with his take on the John Hartford penned tune "Gentle On My Mind", which Glen Campbell had a massive hit with. That may be the album's weak link. I like it but it pales in comparison to the Campbell version. The album's strength came from a run of hits. "Suspicious Minds" (my all-time favorite Elvis song and his last chart-topper), "In the Ghetto," "Kentucky Rain" and "Don't Cry Daddy." If you don't like this album, you don't like music. 
  • From Elvis in Memphis: Legacy Edition
  • Born in the USA- Bruce Springsteen: The case could be made that "The Boss" has recorded better albums, but this one is my favorite. Besides it's the one that really pushed him over the top. From the opening guitar riff and drum beat of the title track that opens the album you know you are in for some good stuff. I would highlight individual tracks but I can't find one I don't like. Every song is a winner. 
  • Born in the U.S.A.
  • Who's Next - The Who: The best album from the best British band of all-time. Yeah I said it, it's my blog, (sorry Beatles and Stones maybe next time). How can you not love an album that starts with "Baba O'Reilly", yeah it starts with one of the Top 5 Rock songs of all-time. If you don't think you know that song just let the words Teenage Wasteland run through your brain for a second and you will be singing the chorus. In addition to "Baba" they also have "Won't Get Fooled Again" and "Behind Blue Eyes." Some bands don't have that many great songs in a career and The Who stuffed an entire album with 'em. Also great are "Going Mobile" and "Bargain", the latter was used by Toyota in a 90's ad campaign. 
  • Who's Next
  • Thriller - Michael Jackson: This is another of those albums that I defy you not to like. Nine songs on the original release and seven singles. Those seven singles all reached the Top-10 some hit the top spot. The music videos alone for this album make it memorable. MJ was one of the first to really push the art of the music video. The videos for "Thriller," "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" are all still amazing. No other album better encapsulates a star at the peak of their stardom then this one.
  • Michael Jackson 25th Anniversary of Thriller (CD+DVD)
  • Time Well Wasted/5th Gear - Brad Paisley: Can't pick my favorite between these two just an amazing two album run by one of country music's best. If you aren't a Paisley fan give either of these albums a listen, I bet you will be by the end. An amazing guitarist and vocalist the dude knows how to tell a story. 
  • Time Well Wasted 5th Gear
  • Carnival Ride - Carrie Underwood: Her second album, just an absolutely perfectly crafted country album. From song choices to arrangements. This is the album that pushed her into the stratosphere. "All-American Girl," "Just a Dream," "I Told You So," (sidenote my favorite Randy Travis song). Just an amazing effort. 
  • Carnival Ride
  • Live Like You Were Dying - Tim McGraw: Another perfect album, even better than Carnival Ride. This album has so many amazing songs and covers so many angles it's not even funny. Tim does funny, "You Want Fries with That." Sad, the title track, "Old Town New." As a bonus the single best track he ever recorded is on this album "Kill Myself." If you haven't heard that one give it a listen. Have a tissue handy. 
  • Live Like You Were Dying
  • American VI: Ain't No Grave - Johnny Cash: Released posthumously "The Man in Black," recorded these songs shortly before his death. They are an amazing reflection on mortality. Cash enjoyed a bit of a resurgence late in life from his sessions with Rick Rubin and these represent those final sessions.  One hell of a swan song for an American original.
  • American VI: Ain't No Grave
  • Somewhere Down in Texas/It Just Comes Natural - George Strait: Two great Strait albums of a more recent vintage. King George drops a great album at least once every two years it is hard to narrow down his catalog. If I absolutely couldn't take anything else I would struggle to decide between his Strait out of the Box set or From Elvis in Memphis. The two albums I mentioned are strong efforts with amazing album cuts as well as singles. Songs like "She Let Herself Go," "You'll Be There," "Give it Away," and "How 'Bout Them Cowgirls," highlight the two albums. 
  • Somewhere Down in Texas It Just Comes Natural
Well those are just some of my favorites. How about yours? 


Anonymous said...

Aaron Lewis "country boy" on the new town line album.


Michael said...

I gotta say Mark I like that song a lot and have liked Aaron's voice since his days fronting Staind.