You’re to be stranded on a desert island, and you can only take with you ten songs. You don’t necessarily have to choose the best ten songs ever, but ten songs that you could listen to forever, and more importantly, that you can’t live without.
If you know anything about me, you know that I find it extraordinarily difficult to choose a top ten artists, top ten albums, or even top ten albums of a given year. For example, my last three annual top albums lists were over ten albums.
So when faced with the scenario, the list I came up with tends to read more like a soundtrack to my tropical isolation, rather than an accurate representation of my top ten songs of all time. While fun, lists are always a huge undertaking for me, as a paring down of comparable proportions rarely occurs.
So without further ado, my Desert Island Top 10, in no particular order, are as follows:
1. Mr. Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra
This song makes the cut because of it’s unfailing ability to make me smile. It’s the song on my unfortunately small shipwreck mix-tape that would lift my spirits when the hardships of island isolation inevitably got me down.
2. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel
One of the greatest songs off of one of the greatest albums of all time. I wish I could take the whole record with me.
3. Sympathy for the Devil – The Rolling Stones
Again, a great song from one of the greatest rock bands ever. Having a Stones track was almost a no-brainer, but which song took a bit more consideration, and Sympathy for the Devil makes the cut for it’s sheer awesomeness.
4. I Can See For Miles – The Who
I feel like this song is somewhat appropriate for being marooned on a desert island.
5. Flight Test – The Flaming Lips
I just really like this song. It has a way of cheering me up similar to the ELO track mentioned above.
6. Crossroads – Cream
Aside from being (pretty much) the only song on my list that demonstrates extreme guitar prowess, Crossroads is one of my all time favorite classic rock songs. It also paints an image of a somewhat fabled setting, similar to the tropical (ahem) paradise in which I find myself so uncomfortably alone. At least Eric Clapton will keep me company.
7. The Decline – NOFX
This song, while awesome, is on my list almost solely because of it’s length. At roughly 19 minutes, The Decline is like having the luxury of bringing 4 or 5 extra song with me. It’s almost guaranteed to stall the inevitable repetitiveness that comes with only being able to listen to a feeble ten songs for the rest of eternity.
8. Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa – Vampire Weekend
Eerily appropriate. I swear I didn’t do that on purpose.
9. Sky Blue Sky – Wilco
A song by one of my two favorite bands, Sky Blue Sky is a hopeful tune that wishes clouds away. Because, of course, I’ll be longing for more sun while I’m stranded on a desert island.
10. The National Anthem – Radiohead
A track that would be a little reminder of home, the America that I come from. What’s that? It’s not the Francis Scott Key version? Oh. Well Radiohead is awesome (my other favorite artist).
That’s it. It occurs to me that almost (over?) half of my list is inadvertently island/tropical/fabled and accidentally more appropriate for island maroonment (made up word) than I had anticipated. While these are certainly on the (massive and ever-growing) list of my favorite songs, I feel they’re a good subset for my desert island jukebox.
EDIT: Chuck over at The Abyss Looks Back put together a desert island list too. Check it out at http://theabysslooksback.blogspot.com/.