Some of you long term readers will be thinking “Holy fuck a review corner post… there hasn’t been one of those in forever” and you’d be right so I’m going to more than make up for it with my “Desert Island Disc”. For those of you who don’t know what this is; it’s basically a hypothetical scenario, where if you were trapped on an island and could only have a disc with 8 tracks of music, a book a religious/appropriate text the complete works of Shakespeare and one Luxury, what the tracks, book and luxury be. It’s a game played on BBC Radio 4 and has been going since it’s inception in 1942. (Yes I did just use inception correctly in a sentence :-P).
It was actually my dad that first asked me what I would have on the disc and my very first thought was “I don’t know any discs off the top of my head that are 8 tracks long”… It took a while for me to think about it as a disc of my own making and not one that is premade. Once I did I realised very quickly that there would have to be a lot of rules in place for the tracks I would bring with me. First and foremost is that it would have to be a song that would make me forget what the next song was meant to have been. Basically I like listening to music in the same order, consistently. So if something breaks that ordering it tends to upset me. (Asperger’s Syndrome – it’s the little things). Actually before I go any further I’m going to link you to the YouTube playlist for this just to make it easier:
So the first song on that list is “Red Like Roses” by Jeff Williams for a webseries called RWBY. It’s a song in two parts and it’s nine glorious minutes long. The first part was used in one of the trailers for the series and showed off the animations and combat that would be used in the series as a whole while giving us a bit of flavour to ponder about one of the protagonists. While the second part was used in a really big fight scene where the protagonists banded together to kick ass. If you are a fan of anime and have time to spare I highly recommend that you watch the series. As for the song itself, it’s got a lovely build up to a power house of an instrumental. The instrumental shift in it’s intensity beautifully with a weird country feel for the first three minutes or so, before diving into something with a bit more teeth on it. All in all I listed to this song for 5 days. It was the only song I listened to fir 5 whole days. It’s the first song on my list as it is the first song I realised could go on the list. So “Red Like Roses” served to highlight the most important quality for me when it comes to a Desert Island Disc: It has to never get boring or it has to be a song that once listened to I want to hear again.
So the second bit of inspiration for what song to put on the list came while I was working. I was installing a pc in an office and was having a chat with the user about their software when “Flame” by Bell X1 came on the radio. Once it ended I had to download the song so I could listen to it again. It’s a song I know and know well I just hadn’t heard it in forever and had always loved to listen to it. Bell X1 have a few songs I love to listen to. They have a weird blend to their music the makes it seem semi disjointed at times but it still makes sense. They do the same thing with their lyrics. It all weird but somehow it works really well. It was at one stage a competition between “Flame” and “Great Defector” (another of their songs). But Flame won out in the end as Great Defector’s imbalance in the music being played in both ears was something that would drive me mad if I heard it constantly. This song is technically my nod to the Irish too. As Bell X1 is an Irish band. My dad made several nods in his own list. Which I’ve avoided doing. I mean I want songs that I really want… I don’t want to be on an Island thinking “I wish I had taken something other than Mozart’s Symphony No. 4”.
The third song was another instance of a song that I heard and it just had to go on the list. This one came while my room mate was listening to a Spotify radio for his “Chill List”. The song is “Dancing in the Moonlight” by Toploader. This is a song that I always have to sway to, I don’t care who is in the room or what they think, I just gotta groove to the beat. It’s easy music and it’s good fun. I don’t think there is much that I can say about this other than all that. It’s a good clean song for people who like fun… you do like fun don’t you?
The next song is a combo hit for Pentatonix and Lindsey Stirling. Pentatonix is an absolutely amazing a capella band with only 5 members. While Lindsey Stirling is an amazing violinist who does stuff like “The Legend of Zelda” theme tune or “Halo” theme tune as well as her own compositions. So putting them together while a little bit of a contradiction (a capella meaning “music without insturment” and a violinist needing a violin)… It sounds like the start of a bad joke – “A violinist and an a capella band walk into a bar”. However their rendition of “Radioactive” is fucking amazeballs and has me listening to it again and again when I think of it. Pentatonix have certainly done a lot of great stuff as has Lindsey, but this gets two birds with one stone and fills my criteria.
Song number 5 was a big hit earlier this year, it’s short, it’s sweet and I leave it on repeat. “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers. When this song first came out I couldn’t get enough of it. The simple lyrics and story along with the head bobbing light hearted music had me swaying and singing along from day one. I just can’t get enough of the song, it seems that no matter how long it is it isn’t enough and I have to play it one more time. Also it has a ukulele… I think. I have to have one song with a ukulele and it was either “Ho Hey” or “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz.
Next on the list is “Mountain Sound” by Of Monsters and Men. Yet another fantastically cheery song that may be breaking a rule I haven’t mentioned yet. That is the rule of keeping genres gaps. Cause there is no point in having only country music if one day I want to listen to rock and roll. “Mountain Sound” is very close to “Ho Hey”… but it’s awesome and one double up won’t kill me, right? Some of you probably know Of Monsters and Men’s more famous song “Little Talks” and I will admit that I do love that song too. But I find that “Mountain Sound” just speaks to me. I love being on a hike, away from the hustle and bustle of the real world and to just get away from it all. That’s what the entire song is about and I love it for that reason. Granted now I’m on and Island away from the hustle and bustle forever, so I should remind myself to enjoy it.
Second last on the list is a Fleetwood Mac song. Originally I was going to put in a song by Garth Brooks called “Callin’ Baton Rogue” but YouTube didn’t have the song on there. I’m guessing Garth probably called in a team of lawyer to crush them to little bits. All it really has is covers, so I went looking for a replacement. Steve Earle’s songs while great didn’t hold me quite so well, I can listen to his CD’s all year, but not the one song over and over. I ended up thinking for ages trying to come up with a song, till I remembered a time when I was skipping down O’Connell Street in Dublin dancing along to a tune and not caring who saw. The tune was “Bleed to Love Her”. Yeah ok, it’s a sappyish song, but I’m quite often a fairly sappy guy when it comes to matters of the heart and romance, so the song is staying… besides Callin’ Baton Rogue is also kinda sappy, gotta keep the sappy quota.
Last on the list is Owl City with “Vanilla Twilight”. Those of you who have read my old blog will know I reviewed him before when I had a rant about the difference between synthesizers and auto-tune. It was my love of “Fireflies” that had an acquaintance of mine declaring that I was gay to the high heavens and back again. But it was a fun song that I loved to listen to. Contrary to that and in fact most of the songs “Vanilla Twilight” is a sad song. It’s the song you sing when you miss someone you can’t see. Be they a love one or just a friend. It’s something I know a lot about as I’ve grown apart from friends over the years, whether it’s because they are in Korea or England, or just because out lives took different directions. It’s also a tip of my hat to the girls I love and miss. But also it’s a bit of an in joke “I wish you were here” because I’m trapped on an island and going crazy from the isolation.
Now let look at the whole isolation thing… in the 1950’s a psychologist name Donald Hebb placed volunteers in extreme isolation in small empty rooms with goggles and test tubes to block out sensory input. They were supposed to be in isolation for 42 days most people didn’t even survive 4. After which they went mad. Like completely mad. Humans are a social creature, alone on a desert we would go mad without those interactions. In Cast Away, the main character is on an island and actually makes a football into a person, just so he can have someone to talk to. I already talk to inanimate objects!
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the read and liked the music that I picked. If you feel so inclined comment on what your 8 tracks will be.