Sunday, November 11, 2007

D. I. D.'s

One of the radio stations that we listen to is having a Desert Island Disc play-a-thon this long Veteran's Day weekend. Basically, they asked listeners to send in their lists of 3 cd's they could listen to for the rest of time if stranded on a desert island with a "kick-ass" (solar powered?) stereo system. This weekend the station is playing one song from each of the three cd's from the lists that they received, as well as announcing on air whose list it is. It's fun hearing what people consider their "top three" - much of it not on the station's regular rotation. I think I have yet to hear any [2 bands who shall remain nameless] both of which have been played so heavily that I wonder if payola is really quite dead. This has got me mulling over which three cd's would be my Desert Island Discs. Only three cd's! Until recently, I wasn't listening to cd's. Mostly the stereo has been tuned-in to NPR (the only way I get my news these days) and that station plays jazz and blues. Fine, but not something I can usually sing along to. Lately I have been in a funk with music, and really in general. But last week, I wanted to get some house work done, and needed some "theme music" in the background. Liz Phair. Or Fair Liz, as I like to call her. Oh! The joy of listening to and singing along with music has been restored to me! Yes, I would definitely have some Liz Phair with me. But which one? Whitechocolatespaceegg would have been my choice, but then I started listening more to the 2003 release simply titled "Liz Phair." Initially I wasn't crazy about this one - it seemed a little too "produced" and I like her earlier, rawer sound. But there's that opening track, Extraordinary. Ladies, if you are ever in a funk, play this song as loud as you can stand it and sing along with these words:

I am extraordinary, if you'd ever get to know me. I am extraordinary. I am just your ordinary, average, everyday, sane/psycho super-goddess.
OK, that settles it - "Liz Phair" it is. On to disc #2 then. When I was single and living in Chicago, my friend (who was later to become my sister-in-law! but that's another story) and I spent much of our spare time browsing the shelves at Dr. Wax on Clark Street. Back then it was a tiny, dark, cramped place. Then they moved in to a bigger brighter location, not nearly as edgy. Now I hear that it has closed. Too bad, it was a very cool place. Anyway, much of my record collection is populated with purchases from Dr. Wax. There I explored my burgeoning interest in Folk Music, 70's and 80's pop that I had missed out on, Lyle Lovett and Willie Nelson - who were the only two "Country Music" performers that I could stand because I told myself that they were really outside the genre - and a developing musical genre out of my home state known as Grunge. Nirvana. Pearl Jam has it's place in history too, but for me Nirvana paved the road and the road is the same water-y blue as of the cover of "Nevermind." This is the disc you listen to when you are just so pissed that you are on a desert island that you want to smash some shit. And also to keep all the hungry wild animals away. But then you'll need to listen to something else lest you find yourself dwelling too much on Mr. Cobain. Which brings us to disc #3. Well, so far this hasn't been too hard, but now I ony get to pick one more! And it can't be depressing (sorry, Nirvana.) Here is where I'd have to turn my back to the pop/rock mood music and pick something inspiring. Bach. Classical music is timeless. "The Brandenburg Concertos" is a beautiful collection of six compositions penned by Johann Sebastian Bach in the 1700's. It is inspiring to think that these works are just as popular today as they were 3 centuries ago, and this would be just the ticket for getting me pumped to write S O S in the sand, or light my signal fire, or build my raft. This is the music that would make me want to forage for coconuts and learn how to spear fish. This is the soundtrack for survival. Ahhhhhh, Bach! So, what about you? Where do your musical tastes lie? What three discs would you want on your desert island? Edited to add: now with videos!