It Had to be Done Some Time

Everyone has (at some point) been asked the “You’re stuck on a deserted island, you only have [insert number here] books/albums/whatever the hell else FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, what do you pick?” question posted to them.

I’ve probably spent more time thinking about this than the average person, because that’s the way my brain works.  I can’t answer the book question, because my FAVOURITE books aren’t necessarily the books I’d choose.  If I were talking about books, I’d have to take into consideration compendiums and whatnot, and that’s just more work than I’m willing to put in at the moment.

So, today, I’m going to talk about the five ALBUMS I’d take with me – were I lucky enough to be stranded with an iPod (that only holds five albums, WTS?) and a way to keep it charged until I died of scurvy or some shit.  These are albums that I can (and have) listen/ed to over and over and will never ever grow tired of.

sj’s Deserted Island Top Five

(in chronological order)

1.  The Beatles – Rubber Soul
rubber soul
Yeah, maybe it’s a total cliché to choose The Beatles, but IDGaF.  This album has been one of my favourites for almost as long as I can remember.  I’m ignoring the fact that my “class song” when I graduated from high school was In My Life (because, ZOMG there was some terrible singing at graduation, no joke) and just thinking about how a few of my happy childhood memories stem from listening to this album with my Nan (who was a huge fan of both The Beatles and CCR) and the two of us singing Drive My Car whenever we were out together.

2.  Pixies – Surfer Rosa

surfer rosa

One could argue that this is my favourite album by my favourite band, so it should be my favourite album of all-time, right?  Eh, possibly.  It’s up there, as should be evident by its place on this list.  My main concern about having this on here is that my FAVOURITE FAVOURITE versions of a lot of these songs are off of bootlegs from the 80s (oops), so I don’t know how long I’d go without wishing that I had some of those available to me.  I know I’d be saying “Oh, but I really just want to listen to that version of Break My Body from Boston in ’87!” before too much time had passed, but here’s the thing – my very favourite song of all time is on this album, so it has to be on the list.  I had considered not telling you what my favourite song is, but I know no one would guess.  This is my all-time favourite song, ever.  So, there you go.

3.  Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique

paul's boutique

OH, THE ARGUMENTS!  No, srsly, I’ve had so many FIGHTS about whether Paul’s Boutique is superior to Check Your Head (hint: it totally is) and friendships have been close to ENDING because CERTAIN PEOPLE refuse to recognize the genius of what is obviously the greatest hip hop record ever recorded.  No.  Shut up.  I’m totally for realsies here.  FFS, Sounds of Science is better than almost any song ever released, I don’t understand how people can still want to argue this point or fail to recognize the genius of this album.  Bonus, go listen to Shadrach (or, if you can find it – get a copy of An Exciting Evening at Home with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego…you’re lucky, I’m not taking EPs with me on my island adventure or I’d be taking that one too, just for Your Sister’s Def [DRE!]) and try to argue with me.  You still don’t believe me?  I hate you.

4.  Magnetic Fields – 69 Love Songs

69 love songs

Okay, I admit it.  I feel like kind of a snapebalrog including this one because TECHNICALLY it’s THREE albums and not just one.  BUT, you really have to have all three albums together, or the title doesn’t make any snaping sense.  No, seriously – if you only have ONE, it would be 23 love songs and that’s just stupid. This album breaks my heart into tiny pieces with Reno Dakota, then puts it back together with The Sun Goes Down and the World Goes Dancing.  I giggle to The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side, and sob my face off to All My Little Words.  This is an album that just gets better and more fraught with personal meaning every time I listen to it.

5.  Explosions in the Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

take care

This album is still fairly new, but I’ve already listened to it (repeatedly) more than a lot of the other stuff in my personal library, and it’s actually the album that inspired this post tonight.  I was listening to Postcard from 1952 on repeat, and said to myself “I will never ever get tired of this song.”  It’s true.  According to iTunes, I’ve listened to this song over 100 times since the album came out less than 2 years ago, and I’m still not anywhere close to being sick of it.  Don’t let my adoration for this one song cause you to think the entire album is less than stellar, though.  It’s all amazing.  Even more amazing?  This video, and seeing them perform the album live (even though I’ve never been to Belgium).  It’s gorgeous.  No, really.  Put this on and close your eyes, and spend an hour and twenty minutes being swept away by the music.  [happy sigh]

There are runners up, but these are my definitive list, as of the fifth of February, 2013.  What’s on yours?

Sidenote:  Thank you to everyone who commented on Sunday’s post.  Your kind words mean the world to me.  I was going to reply to each comment, but it was too difficult.  Thank you for understanding.  <3

The Snobbery’s Naughty and Nice List 2012 Edition (Part I)

I read too much this year!  I listened to too much this year!  I…I don’t know, I read and listened to a lot of things and watched a lot of tv.  I honestly have no idea how many parts this list will end up being because I’m indecisive as hell.  Just bear with me, ‘kay?

I will never not find this funny.

What do you think?  How about we start with some music?  Yeah, music!

sj’s Top 5 Albums of 2012

1.  Titus Andronicus – Local Business

I love many, many, many things about this Jersey punk band with the Shakespearean name.  Their 2008 debut The Airing of Grievances had me the second I heard the album’s name, no joke.  While one could say that the current Titus Andronicus bears little resemblance to the band from 2008 (these guys go through drummers and guitarists like nobody’s business), their sound is just as amazing and loud as ever.

Listen to:  Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape with the Flood of Detritus

2.  Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan

I didn’t think I could love this band more than I did after 2009′s Bitte Orca (still in heavy rotation), but I DO!  You’re doing yourself a major disservice if you don’t at least listen to the song I’m about to link you to.

There is an answer
I haven’t found it
But I will keep dancing til I do

Listen to:  Dance For You

3.  Whirr – Pipe Dreams

pipe dreams

So, funny story about this album.  I hadn’t even heard OF it, let alone heard it before last week.  But since then, it’s been playing almost constantly.  Seriously, I can’t think of anything new I’ve played this much in a very long time.  Hats off to Robby at FolkLure for reviewing it so that I could enjoy it as much as I have.  Since this is A NEW acquisition, that means something got bumped out of the top five, but whatever.  It’s not like hearts will be broken based on my Nice Lists.

Listen to:  Junebouvier

4.  Los Straitjackets – Jet Set

This is one of those bands that cause people to cast funny looks in my direction.  Do I care?  No.  The truth is that I have a huge soft spot for 60s surf rock, and I love the way these guys play it.  Other than the Bambi Molesters, they’re my favourite current surf band.

Listen to:  Low Tide (that saw!  sounds Hawaiian, dunnit?)

5.  Magnetic Fields – Love at the Bottom of the Sea

Guys, guys.  My favourite band?  This is it/them/him/whatever.  Much like Spiritualized up above, it’s not possible for me to listen to this album with an impartial ear.  Love at the Bottom of the Sea marks the end of the Magnetic Fields’ no-synth trilogy and learning that made me jump up and down and squeal with joy.

Much like almost every song on here did.  Now, if you’re not already a fan, that’s fine – I’m not disowning you, or anything.  I know that not everyone loves them as crazy irrationally as I do.  But I will still scoff at your taste in music.  So, yeah.  Because it’s my favourite band and this is the best damn album they’ve put out in the last 13 years, you get two songs instead of one.

Listen to:  Andrew in Drag and God Wants Us to Wait

Bonus Songs!

Most played songs on my iPod this year (not including anything from the above albums):

1.  Beastie Boys – Hey, Fuck You (tied with) The Ergs! – Kind of Like Smitten (25*)

2.  Sonic Youth – Within You, Without You (19*)

3.  Nick Cave – God’s Hotel (17*)

4.  Neutral Milk Hotel – King of Carrot Flowers (all parts) (14*)

5.  Damien Rice – Rootless Tree (11*)

Hmmmm.  I’m kind of surprised by this list, actually.  I think maybe cos I did a lot of listening on Spotify this year?  I wonder what my REALLY MOST LISTENED to songs are this year?  Do I need to start keeping track of songs, like The Silence?

I’ll post another list in a few days or something.  I CAN’T POST EVERYTHING AT ONCE, CALM DOWN.  <3

What did you guys listen to in 2012?

On Guilty Pleasures and the Proper Number of Love Songs

Back in February, I was entering EVERY. SINGLE. First Reads giveaway.  Mostly just because I loved the emails in my inbox saying I was a winner.  I mean, I think I’m a winner (sometimes), but it was nice to have outside validation, y’know?  Anyway, one of the books I won was On Celestial Music:  And Other Adventures in Listening by Rick Moody.  I was actually pretty interested in reading it, because I saw from the blurb that there was an essay on Magnetic Fields.

Now, in case you aren’t aware – Magnetic Fields is one of my very favourite bands of all time.  Their 1999 release 69 Love Songs is one of my Desert Island Albums, no joke.  Moody’s essay talks about when he was invited to open for Magnetic Fields during one of their tours, but at the end, he breaks down 69 Love Songs into his 31 essential tracks.

I had a few problems with that.  Mostly, if you’re trying to divide this album to fit essential tracks onto one disc, let’s divide by 3, ‘kay?  Also, I disagreed with some of the songs he listed, and he had 8 MORE than I gave myself!  In case you’re wondering, this is the definitive MUST HEAR list of TWENTY THREE songs (what, divide 69 by 3, dur) from what is one of my all-time favourite albums:

Tangentially, if you’re at all interested I think you should definitely check out How Fucking Romantic, where they’re attempting to illustrate each song on this album.  It’s pretty fun.


The only other essay in the book that moved me to speak of it was about musical guilty pleasures.  Mr Moody is a member of a record club that meets semi-regularly to play songs for each other.  Srsly, that’s the kind of club I would be interested in.  It was proposed at one meeting that the next meeting be devoted to songs each member considered guilty pleasures.  A flurry of emails (which are in the book) were sent between everyone about what constitutes a guilty pleasure song.  Eventually, a decision was reached that it must be a song that you love, but that you’re ashamed to admit that you love.  None of this “zomg, it’s so bad it’s amazing” crap here.

I’ve spent a long time thinking about what I’d consider my two guilty pleasure songs.  Well, like two days, but you know what I mean.

The problem here is that I’m not really ashamed of any of the music I listen to.  I like what I like, and just because I may judge you for what YOU listen to, doesn’t mean you get to make me feel bad about the stuff I listen to, you know?

With that in mind, I’ve decided on two things that I think most people will be pretty surprised that I listen to on a regular basis and that I LOVE BEYOND REASON.


First up:

I have a softness for hair ballads.  What can I say?  Plus, this song reminds me of a really good friend of mine from junior high.  We loved Steelheart.  Shut up.


Okay, so – I have never played this game.  I only know this song from the commercials, but this video is FANTASTIC and I can’t stop giggling when I watch it.  Oh, and there’s the line “You will do the dance of sorrow,” which makes me think of this (and therefore makes it that much better):


Okay, so…what are your guilty pleasure songs?

Isn’t it Byronic? Don’tcha Think?

I don’t really have a whole lot to say today because I already answered 20 Questions for the Byronic Man.  Please go check them out, because I think I was pretty hilarious.

In lieu of an actual post, I’ll just put some of the songs I mentioned in my answer to question #5.

(seriously, what are you waiting for, go check it out!)

The 3 Songs I’ve Listened to More than Any Others in My Life (it’s actually six):

Frank Zappa – Jewish Princess

Frank Zappa – Baby Snakes

Dead Milkmen – Punk Rock Girl

Pixies – Debaser

 (god, look at how young they all are!)

Rilo Kiley – Silver Lining

Magnetic Fields – Acoustic Guitar