All of the songs listed below were personally chosen by the artist or blogger above. I got in touch with a lot of artists and bloggers who were all kind enough to get back to me and take part in Desert Island Discs. If you’re unaware of the concept behind Desert Island Discs, check out the basic pitch I gave the artists and bloggers I got in touch with. You can support the artists featured by clicking on the album cover and buying their music.
Today’s Desert Island Discs is brought to you by new blog on the blogk, Daniel from The Higher Octave. His selection below is one of the more impressive ones I’ve featured on here and he introduced me to a couple of gems, even if I still find it difficult to get into Pavement…..or really Wilco for that matter, but his first choice is a great song.
Billy Bragg & Wilco- “California Stars”
I first heard “California Stars” in the transition summer between my senior year of high school and freshman year of college. Most nights I would wander off into the country fields of campus and lay in the grass staring at the sky. It’s this song that constantly reminds me how great of a summer that truly was, and for that I can never let it go. The mixture of the swirly country violin and reverberating guitar twangs is a perfect stage for Jeff Tweedy’s voice, and for five minutes at a time I actually feel that I’m back in those fields watching the stars.
Nas- “N.Y. State of Mind”
If all of hip hop was wiped off the face of the Earth, and you could only pick one album to reconstruct the genre, what album would you choose? In my mind there is no other album better suited than “Illmatic.” And it’s on “Illmatic” where you’ll find one of my favorite songs of all time: “N.Y. State of Mind.” Whether it’s the beginning slams of Premo’s beat or the continuing hooks found in Nas’ verses, I find this song to be the golden gem on “Illmatic” that sets up everything else to come.
Colin Hay- “I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You”
Over an acoustic guitar, Colin Hay pitches to us one of best love songs ever to grace the stage. It’s amazing how much pure emotion the song captures, but it’s even more amazing how he can strike perfection with a topic that has lost all sense of dignity.
ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION- “Rewrite”
For quite some time I relied heavily on Japanese rock. It was a positive filter for me after realizing that a lot of the music I was listening to was quite poor. Because of this, I discovered bands like The Pillows, Dir en grey and ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION. “Rewrite” is one of my favorite pop jams because of its emotion. The chorus is loud and threatening, and the vocals are literally biting at your ears.
The National- “Secret Meeting”
If I could only live with eight songs for the rest of my life and NOT have something by The National, I think I’d just give up listening to music right then and there. “I’m sorry I missed you, I had a secret meeting in the basement of my brain.”
Aska- “There Are Many of Us”
Never a song to go off wildly on a beaten track, “There Are Many of Us” stays on its pitch from the start to finish capturing a unique sense of “the moment.” It’s incredibly trite, yet unbelievably soothing as it basks you with its moving rays of beauty. Aska captures emotion without risking too much, and it’s this approach that makes the song so appealing to me.
Pavement- “Shady Lane”
Pavement is one of the big reasons why I wish I were a bit older in the 90s. Their eccentric style literally defined the decade in rock, and it was Malkmus’ lyrics that always hooked me. On “Shady Lane” we learn about telling people off in the hotel lobby, going Dutch on a blind date, and getting an emery board rash, but the thing that gets me is that it’s one of Malkmus’ few songs where you can pick out its motive. In light of all your complications and disagreements in the world, all you should be worrying about is how to enjoy your life. The songs coda hits you perfectly on the head with this as it gently glides on light-hearted guitar plucks that resemble the clearest sense of a good day.
Nico- “These Days”
Nico may not have the perfect voice, but she makes “These Days” a perfect song. Written by Jackson Browne, Nico takes wonderfully constructed lyrics and makes them her own. I find this song to be absolutely flawless. Enough said.