Over the past year, I’ve grown a huge appreciation for the journalism being done by NPR. Whether it’s stories about current events, food or music, for the most part, everything they do is on point. My favorite show by NPR is Sound Opinions. It’s a weekly show and podcast done by Chicago music journalists Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot. I can truly say that their music criticism has been a large influence to everything I’ve written for WPGU over the past several years.
One recurring piece on Sound Opinions is the “Desert Island Jukebox,” where Greg and Jim pick the songs they would take with them if the were stranded on a desert island with a jukebox and without their iPods or extensive music libraries. Here is a mixtape of 10 songs that would go on my “Desert Island Jukebox.”
The Shins – Caring is Creepy
Ten years ago, the Garden State soundtrack introduced a world of new people to modern indie music, including a 13-year-old Joe Winner. The Shins find a way to mix a classic rock feel with modern alternative. After listening to this song for the first time, I don’t think I’ve ever quite listened to music the same since.
The Who – I Can’t Explain
This is the epitome of a classic rock song for me. It’s about two minutes, a few simple chords, an awesome bridge, killer drums by Keith Moon and a solid guitar solo. Not to mention that this was the first single released by The Who, who is my favorite rock band, and it features session guitar work from a very young Jimmy Page. This song epitomizes Rock n’ Roll, through and through.
LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends
This is my “Desert Island” dance track. It’s just a jam, there’s no other way to describe it. You can’t help bobbing your head, or tapping your foot. “I wouldn’t change one stupid decision, for another 5 years of life.” I agree, James Murphy.
Feist – I Feel It All
I don’t think I would be able to survive if I had to live forever without listening to Feist. This is the song that made me first fall in love with Leslie Feist. It’s fun and it’s a solid rock song. Also Feist’s voice makes me feel things that I am not entirely sure I could articulate. When I saw her in Madison a few years back I wanted to propose to her, but then I decided it was probably better not to be “that guy”.
The Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
There are very few feelings similar to when you listen to a song and it puts all of your feelings and emotions into better words than you could have ever articulated yourself. This song does that for me. Society scares me. Sometimes, I wish I could just move out to a farm or an orchard and just put in a hard days work everyday and live a happy and rewarding life. My life would be like the movies…
Kanye West – Family Business
It’s hard not to smile while listening to this song. Even this is Kanye talking about his family and the people that he grew up with, it strikes a sentimental string in me. Even though he is talking about the dysfunction, it still makes me remember the good times. It makes me think about the silly things I used to do with my cousins growing up, and all the things I used to do to annoy my older sister. It’s real hard not to smile when thinking about those memories.
Grandkids – Timeshare
I can still vividly remember the first time I heard this song. After a whole school year writing for WPGU, I finally decided to check out some local bands at a concert at the Union. As I walked up the northeast stairway, I heard Grandkids playing this song. I walked into the room where the concert was with my jaw dropped in awe. It was the first time I had really adventured into the world of music past bands that were already famous. It opened my eyes to a whole new world of music.
James Blake – The Wilhelm Scream
I knew I needed a James Blake song on my “Desert Island Jukebox,” but it took me a while to pick which one. He has dance hits like “Voyeur” or gorgeous ballads like his Joni Mitchell cover, “A Case of You”. I settled on “The Wilhelm Scream”. Nothing quite gets me through a hard day like this song. “I don’t know about my love… All that I know is I’m fallin, fallin fallin.” It’s simple, yet hard hitting.
Bob Dylan – Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
No song sums up heartbreak to me as much as this song. It gets the bittersweet melancholy of having hard times, but knowing it’s probably for the better. If I was on a desert island, I bet there would be a lot of heartbreak. I can’t imagine being able to get through it without this song.
Wilco – Poor Places
This song is one of those “100 percent” songs for me. It is perfect, in its entirety. It combines a melodic love song with chaotic, deliberate and beautiful din. However, that’s a normal thing for Wilco. What puts it apart from the rest of their music for me is when the piano part comes in right about at 1:27. It gives me chills every single time.