My Top 10 Desert Island Discs

If I was stuck on a desert island, these are the discs I would want to be stuck with.

And yes… Discs! Long live compact discs. I still listen to them every day on the way to work. (Except for the ones that skip on every other track because I’ve listened to them 173 times. Those discs are especially sacred.)

#7 [four-way tie] Sixpence None the Richer ~ This Beautiful Mess (1995)

Reminds me of: High school, maybe 10th grade, when I finally discovered the fringes of Christian Contemporary Music, out beyond the SCCs and the MWSs of that world. This album made me realize it was okay to feel doubt. It validated so much that was latent in my mind and soul as a youth group kid. It marked the beginning of an important chapter in my journey.

Favorite song: “Within a Room Somewhere”

Most underrated song: “I Can’t Explain” (one of the most honest songs ever written for the CCM market)

#7 [four-way tie] Death Cab for Cutie ~ Transatlanticism (2003)

Reminds me of: Solo road-tripping in the fall of 2004, one of the most vivid and adventurous periods of my life. During that trip, I drove all the way from Visalia, CA to Tucson, AZ, an 8-hour jag, to see a Nada Surf concert. But I got there only to learn, Walley-World style, that Nada Surf had canceled due to a family situation. Death Cab was the headliner, and the people in line convinced me I would still love the concert. And boy howdy did I ever.

Favorite song: “Title and Registration”

Most underrated song: “Passenger Seat”

#7 [four-way tie] U2 ~ The Joshua Tree (1987)

Reminds me of: Driving around southwest Ohio in 1998-99, trying to find what I was looking for.

Favorite song: “Where the Streets Have No Name”

Most underrated song: “Mothers of the Disappeared”

#7 [four-way tie] Explosions in the Sky ~ The Earth is Not a Cold, Dead Place (2003)

Reminds me of: Every single time I ever watched Friday Night Lights, the movie or the TV series. And also Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where I discovered the band that launched me into the cosmic wonders of the post-rock stratosphere.

Favorite song: “Your Hand in Mine”

Most underrated song: “The Only Moment We Were Alone”

#6 The Fire Theft ~ S/T (2003)

Reminds me of: The Yosemite area of California in the summer of 2004. It reminds me of my brothers from another mother, Tosh and Rain, for whom I played this album when we drove to the nearest swimming hole on a weekly (and sometimes daily) basis. It was the wildest and most picturesque summer I’ve ever experienced. The days were golden.

Favorite song: “Oceans Apart”

Most underrated song: “Sinatra”

#5 Hammock ~ Mysterium (2017)

Reminds me of: Driving to work in Harrisburg, mostly. 2017 was the best of times (Greyson had just turned 1!), and it was the worst of times (an unimaginably immoral man had just been elected). This album helped me process my vast array of feelings, happy and mad and profoundly grateful and profoundly confused and everything in between.

Favorite song: “This Is Not Enough (Epilogue)”

Most underrated song: “Remember Our Bewildered Son”

#4 Common Children ~ Delicate Fade (1997)

Reminds me of: The final year of high school into the first year of college. Lying on the roof of a car with my best buddy Dave looking at the starry night, sharing romantic heartbreak solidarity (after he had introduced me to this album earlier in the evening).

Favorite song: “Stains of Time

Most underrated songs: “Blue Raft” into “Storm Boy”

#3 Jimmy Eat World ~ Clarity (1999)

Reminds me of: Driving across the Harvey Taylor Bridge to hang out (and get bleary-eyed) with my friends in Harrisburg, back when I made questionable decisions about what to put in my body. I may have gotten faded, but the memories have not. And neither has the wall-to-wall appeal of this album, which is the definition of borderline-perfect. Or you could say: For me this is heaven.

Favorite song (besides “For Me This Is Heaven”): “Just Watch the Fireworks”

Most underrated song: “Goodbye Sky Harbor”

#2 Caspian ~ Tertia (2009)

Reminds me of: The Fort Collins area of Colorado. The first place (out of 9 places) that my wife and I ever lived, on Avocet Road. It was the staging ground for many wonderful things, including the purchase of my first Caspian disc. A disc, and a band, that legitimately changed my life.

Favorite song: “Sycamore” (this will be obvious to anyone who has heard the album)

Most underrated song: “Ghosts of the Garden City,” specifically the version from Live at the Larcom

#1 Sigur Rós ~ Takk (2005)

Reminds me of: The Yosemite area in California. And it reminds me of my friends Jeevan and Dana, who now live in New Zealand. I was with the 2 of them when I bought the album in Merced (near Yosemite) and then the 3 of us went out for Thai food while I stared ravenously at the cover and eagerly awaited my first listen. It far exceeded my greatest anticipation and has continued to do so for 17 years. A masterpiece to end all masterpieces.

Favorite song: “Glosoli”

Most underrated song: “Gong”

This was absurdly fun to write. Thank you for reading!

One thought on “My Top 10 Desert Island Discs

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s