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12.09.11 Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs

This is a list of the 8 albums I would take with me if I were a castaway on a desert island.
1The Beatles

The Beatles are probably my favourite band, and certainly the one I grew up with most. I figure that this is the perfect showcase of all their albums, whilst still being new and seeming like an album of new compositions. I also chose this so I wouldn't fill this list with too many Beatles albums.
2Syd Barrett
The Madcap Laughs

There's something so appealling about Syds song writing, though it's all over the place here. His melodies are sublime and twisted all the same and I couldn't deal with these songs floating around my head without being able to listen to them.
3The Divine Comedy
Absent Friends

This album has such lush, well balanced arrangements, which is why I figure it stands out to me more than Neils other albums and his vocals are so spot on and beautifully delivered I wonder why this man isn't more well known. It's not as arch as promenade or over orchestrated as Fin De Siecle or cheesy as the first songs on Victory for the comic muse. Just right.
4Pink Floyd
The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn

Again another Syd Barrett album (basically), and though I love The Wall and Dark Side Of The Moon, they just don't appeal to me as much as Syd at his most prolific. This album is really rather freaky, but not offputtingly so like a few psychedelic rock bands can tend to do. Syds melodies and lyrics are so new and unique, which is why I like almost everything he's done. It's because no one else has.
5Nick Drake
Pink Moon

Five Leaves Left was Nick's middle of the road album, Bryter Layter his almost happy album, and Pink Moon his depressing album. It is all Nick and his guitar (apart from a piano dub in the first track), and because of that it sounds so bare and exquisitely emotional. He has a soft voice which can just melt into the music and highlight the melody, but when listening to the lyrics you see how open he's being. Now a lot of people when writing a depressing song come across as whiney or 'emo', but Nick seems able to avoid all of that and not really self pitying. So stunning.
6The Beach Boys
Pet Sounds

Another band I grew up with and even saw Brian live at one point. For The Beach Boys they're not really ones to be very complex musically, but Brian Wilson takes it all into the studio and it all fits exactly. The word for this album, other than the usual beautiful or amazing would be meticulous. Nothing seems out of place or unimportant and that is what makes it beautiful and amazing.
7The Beautiful South
Blue Is The Colour

Paul Heaton has always had an astonishing ability for insight in his lyrics, dating back to The Housemartins and this album is great for complimenting his kitchen sink dramas. And although I cannot get enough of Pauls voice, Jacqui Abbott's vocal performance steals the show on the songs she appears on here. The cover of Artificial Flowers is one of the few songs which can never fail to make me well up.
8The Divine Comedy

This album is considered Neils best album by most of his fanbase and you can understand why, the story is, though a tad cliched, all the better for it. Normally I try to avoid cliches like the plague (sic) but the storytelling is sublime, with the songs painting pictures for me better than many others I've heard. 'Geronimo' in particular, though very short perfectly captures the iamges of a couple running in to escape the rain to a warm fire, the song seems blue/grey until the lyrics turn it a warm orange/red of cosy armchair by the fire. All his songs do this and I love the album for it.
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