MY TWELVE DESERT ISLAND ALBUMS

I only really heavily got into music around the age of sixteen. Before that I was simply content to play football with my mates every waking minute. Then I left school, had the most glorious summer ever in 1996, coupled with Britpop hitting it big time and I haven’t looked back since. Sure, my tastes have changed over the years, but that’s because I’m always looking for the next big thing, or something new that I’ve not heard before. It’s like when you hear the most perfect song and it brings a lump to your throat and sends a shiver up your spine. It’s an amazing feeling and you just want it again and again.

Because of the, mostly fruitless quest, for THAT song, I listen to a lot of music just hoping for that feeling again. It has led me down some interesting roads, some noisy roads, some boring roads and some amazing roads. These are some of those amazing roads.

rage

Rage Against The Machine – Rage Against The Machine (1991)  

I first heard this album when I was in Australia in 2002. One of my house mates was mad keen on RATM, and when I heard it I fell in love with them. The musicianship is insane, and although it might be heavy (musically and lyrically) for some people, the songs are still so damned catchy. Tom Morello is as good a guitarist as you could wish to hear I think.

clash

London Calling – The Clash (1979)  

An album that I had for a long time before getting into. Obviously I always skipped to the well known songs, such as the title track. Then one day, along with two mates I took a trip to London to hang out on a film set (Lesbian Vampire Killers in case your interested in knowing) for the day, and we listened to this album on hard rotation on the way up and back. There is so much variety across all of the tracks, and barely any filler.

beatles

A Hard Day’s Night – The Beatles (1964)  Most people would probably go for a later Beatles album, but I just love this album. Every song is catchy as hell (obviously, this is The Beatles we’re talking about) and there is so much energy buzzing about. It’s the first Beatles album to feature nothing but Beatles songs as well, which is another plus. This album (along with all The Beatles albums) reminds me of being a teenager and buying a rather expensive Beatles Wooden Box Set in the Christmas sales, which I instantly reduced by at least half when my parents asked about it!

chutes

Chutes Too Narrow – The Shins (2003)

The Shins have rapidly become one of my favourite bands since I first heard this album, admittedly way after it’s release. It is amazingly melodic, with some great hooks and inspired lyrics. They have some fantastic albums and songs (not least the two featured famously in Garden State) but this is my favourite album because it reminds me of drives to work, stuck in traffic but loving being young, back in my mid-twenties.

blue

Blue – Joni Mitchell (1970)

My favourite album by my favourite female artist easily. There are some moments of real beauty on here, especially River and Little Green which I believe is about Mitchell giving her daughter up for adoption. My personal favourites are Carey and California which offset the sad songs perfectly. Again, a classic album with no filler and a perfect length. They don’t make them like this any more!

sunflower

Sunflower – The Beach Boys (1970)

I’m going against the grain and saying this is better than Pet Sounds! Maybe it isn’t, but there are some amazing, not so well songs on here that are so catchy and infectious and featuring that amazing Beach Boys vocal harmony. It even features the song I would happily have played at my funeral, Forever, written by Dennis Wilson. It is really amazingly beautiful.

kinks

Something Else – The Kinks (1968)

I love the Kinks, it was a hard choice as to what album to go for but in the end I went for this as there is a nice mix on here, and it includes Waterloo Sunset. The Kinks are one of those bands that are almost begging you to own a greatest hits instead because of the amount of quality songs they have. This album also features Dave Davies great Death of A Clown alongside Ray Davies awesome tunes. I first remember getting into the Kinks as a teenager at house parties during the Britpop days.

ocs

Moseley Shoals – Ocean Colour Scene (1996)

The first album I ever bought so it always has a special place in my heart, even if I don’t listen to it much any more. Most people preferred Oasis or Blur back in the Britpop era, but I loved the whole Mod thing so OCS were always my favourites, due to their comradeship with Paul Weller. That and they had some amazingly cool tunes that Oasis could only dream of (The Riverboat Song, The Day We Caught The Train, The Circle). This reminds me of the getting into music and the greatest summer I ever had, 1996.

closing time

Closing Time – Tom Waits (1973)

I love ‘growly’ Tom Waits as much as the next man, even more so perhaps, but his debut album has some beautiful songs on it, despite not featuring THAT voice. Ol ’55 creates vivid images in my mind and was later covered by The Eagles (don’t hold that against it though) and Martha is about as lovely a song as you are likely to hear about old guy recalling his lost love.

armstrong

Nic Armstrong & The Thieves – The Greatest White Liar (2005)

No one seems to have heard of this, but it really is a gem. I recall seeing Nic supporting Paul Weller and promptly bought the album as soon as it was released. He hasn’t released one since, until a recent EP. If you like early Beatles and Stones, with a bit of Dylan thrown into the mix, then you will love this album. It’s diverse, the songs are well written, melodic, sometimes beautiful and always catchy.

wilson

Pacific Ocean Blue – Dennis Wilson (1977)

A lost classic by the Beach Boys drummer. His first solo album was a true labour of love and the production values on tracks like River Song are impeccable. Dennis truly showed that Brian Wilson wasn’t the only genius in the band. Some of these songs are breathtaking. Some are slightly cheesy and of their time, but overall a cracker. And if you buy the reissue you get Dennis’ Bambu album along with it, which was never actually released, as he died in 1983.

imagine

Imagine – John Lennon (1971)

Lastly, I’ve gone for Lennon. So many great songs on here (the classic title track, Jealous Guy) and it end’s with Oh Yoko! which is a song that brings a smile to my face every time I hear it. I could quite easily have chosen the slightly more hard edged Plastic Ono Band album instead, but seeing as the older I get the more emotional I seem to become, I have gone for Imagine.

About thomasjford

I like Movies and Music and most things popular culture.

14 comments

  1. Some nice choices here mate. Some are a little before my time but some classic albums there for sure.

    • Can I just state for the record that most of them are indeed before my time as well!! Haha. They have all definitely stood the test of time though, and will still be classics when my son is my age.

  2. V

    Some great pics here! Particularly like the inclusion of RATM and OCS. 😀

  3. You sir, have excellent and varied tastes in music. Being the huge Beach Boys fan that I am, I was thrilled to see ‘Sunflower’ and ‘Pacific Ocean Blue’ among the others. The latter in particular, is one of those peeks into the soul of a tortured man, along the lines of Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band or Neil Young’s Tonight’s The Night, only much less known. Great, heartbreaking stuff. But anyway, I wouldn’t want to ramble, especially not about a single album, since I love many of those featured in your list. Looking forward to more of your posts.

    • Thanks for your kind words man! Glad you like the list. I think Pacific Ocean Blue is astonishing considering Dennis was only considered the third most talented Wilson! What would you have in your desert island top ten?

  4. When you say the third, you mean after Carl or after Mike?

    Well, I love tons of albums, so the only possible way for me to do this is name the first 10 albums that come to mind as of right now, with the risk being that tomorrow I might give you a completely different list. Also, only 1 album per artist and no particular order:

    1. Bob Dylan – Live ’66 at the “Royal Albert Hall”
    2. The Who – Quadrophenia
    3. Elton John – Tumbleweed Connection
    4. Stooges – Fun House
    5. The Beach Boys – Love You

    6. The Velvet Underground – Velvet Underground & Nico
    7. Pixies – Surfer Rosa
    8. Kinks – Village Green Preservation Society
    9. Sam Cooke – Live At The Harlem Square Club, 1963
    10. Genesis – Selling England By The Pound

    • Edit: Sorry, for some reason I thought you were referring to Dennis as the third most talented Beach Boy, not Wilson. My bad.

      • Haha. Forgiven. No need to bring Mike Love into this!

        Nice list as well by the way. If by some strange twist of fate we end up shipwrecked together, at least there won’t be a shortage of good tunes!!

  5. Thanks! You’ve given me some ideas here. I only heard London Calling once and it didn’t make much impression, but I might have to go back to it now 🙂 also quite intrigued by Nic Armstrong, who I hadn’t heard of. Tom Waits is of course a gem, though I’m not always in the mood for him. The Shins remind me of a lot of my own music, although they are slightly more successful! I like your style; your prose is very clear and refreshing.

    • Thanks man, and thanks for stopping by! I definitely recommend Nic Armstrong wholeheartedly, and I’m hoping to be able to post a Q&A with him soon.

      As for London Calling, it probably took me a few listens to really get it, but once you do it’s amazing! So many great songs on there, and really diverse as well.

      And, if you sound anything like The Shins, you are destined for great things! I’ll swing by your site and check it out!

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