Deserted Island Top Five: Album Edition

AKA: In Which I Just Committed to Torturing Myself Through Several Posts

(Because I couldn’t just say “Albums”, right? Had to go with “Album Edition”, because I’m thinking of doing this for other stuff. Because I just discovered I’m some sort of fucking masochist. [Side note: “fucking masochist” has unfortunate implications. Please ignore.])

Anyway, this post is inspired by the fabulous SJ, who listed her own top five albums for getting stuck in a deserted island forever. I thought I’d do the same, though now that I’m trying to write them down I realize what a foolhardy task I’ve just signed up for.

But I’m no quitter, so I’m pushing through with this.

Just take note that these are my Top Five Albums for an Extended Stay on a Deserted Island as of February 2013. Ask me again sometime in the future.

(Not listed in any particular order.)

1. “Set Yourself on Fire” – Stars

This is my current favorite. I play the album over and over and over again because it’s just beautiful and it’s so tortuous and I don’t know, it’s just so damn near perfect. Their songs aren’t just songs; they’re stories and you listen to them and it’s like having a movie in your head. That’s how good Stars is. PS I’m watching them live in two weeks!

Favorite tracks: “Calendar Girl”, “Your Ex-Lover is Dead”, and the gut-wrenching “One More Night”. 

2. “The Queen is Dead” – The Smiths

Best Smiths album ever. Of course I love all the other Smiths albums, but this one is THE ONE. I’m no longer an angsty teenager, but this will always have a place in my heart. (On second thought, I might replace this one with a collection of Smiths songs, but that might be cheating.)

Favorite tracks: “The Queen is Dead”, “There is a Light That Never Goes Out”, and “I Know It’s Over”.

3. “Lungs” – Florence and the Machine

I like her “Ceremonials”, too, but “Lungs” is just major. The first time I listened to it, I was sort of shell-shocked and going around asking people why it took me so long to discover Florence and the Machine. Her powerful voice plus the lyrics plus the music, well, it was just so different that I sort of fell in love with her immediately.

Favorite tracks: “Kiss with a Fist”, “Dog Days are Over”, and “Drumming”, which I’ve sort of taken as the theme song for The Master (“there’s a drumming noise inside my head/ that starts when you’re around/ I swear that you could hear it/ it makes such an almighty sound” ).

4. “The Eminem Show” – Eminem

I’m not a fan of misogyny, just to be clear. But Eminem is a fucking poet, and I will punch anyone who says otherwise. He’s just so angry, which helps a lot when I’m angry. He gets to do the screaming on my behalf. His greatest song isn’t on this album, though. It’s “Stan”, which is the greatest fucking rap song in the history of the universe. The man is a genius. A genius who insists on doing stupid things, of course, but still a genius.

Favorite tracks: “White America”, “Without Me”, and “Superman”. The last one is angry and horrible and offensive but it’s also brutally honest, which I can appreciate.

5. “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” – Neutral Milk Hotel

In the list of most perfect albums ever, this one might just be my top vote. It’s incredible. I don’t think I can talk about Neutral Milk Hotel properly. Just know that they are wonderful, and offbeat, and out of this world, and heartbreakingly human. Sometimes the lyrics baffle me (“semen stains the mountaintops” — really? seriously?) but otherwise this is one of the greatest albums you will ever hear in your life. Also, the references to Anne Frank are painfully poignant.

Favorite tracks: “Two Headed Boy”, “King of Carrot Flowers Part I”, and “Holland, 1945”. The last one is particularly a favorite because it’s so tragic. See: “but now we must pack up every piece/ of the life we used to love/ just to keep ourselves at least/ enough to carry on”.

These are the albums that I listen to over and over and over again like some idiot because they’re just so beautiful and perfect and incredible and I’ve run out of adjectives.

Closest Thing to a Religious Experience

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My crappy phone couldn’t take an actual picture of the man, but no human recording device can actually capture the religious experience that is seeing Morrissey live.

Up to the very last minute I kept getting this weird feeling that it wasn’t true; that it was an elaborate practical joke. When some idiot played the Tatu cover of “How Soon is Now”, I was all, “well now they’ve done it and he’s walking off”.

HE DIDN’T.

Which is why I am tired, sore, and hoarse at the moment.

Opening with “How Soon is Now”, there is simply no proper way of describing what happened last night. Hearing the pain and loneliness in all those Smiths and Morrissey songs is twice as searing when you have the actual man twisting and turning in front of you. I’ve never had “Let Me Kiss You” nearly drive me to tears until last night.

And “Throwing My Arms Around Paris” absolutely destroyed me. When he sang only stone and steel accept my love, I think rejection took a hold of my heart and squeezed. Hard.

I had stopped singing along by the time we got to “I Know It’s Over”, partly because I was hoarse, but mostly because hearing him sing with such passion was divine.

He left then returned for an encore and there was pandemonium as he launched into “There is a Light that Never Goes Out”. To be honest, this song alone was worth the price of admission. I was just gone.

Then he left, and we stood there, shocked.