Connect with us

Music

Desert Island Disc Challenge: ‘2014 Forest Hills Drive’

Sharp storytelling and plenty of musical variation.

Devin Townsend

Published

on

Editor’s note: As part of CMN’s ongoing music journalism program, we asked our team of music writers to take on the age-old challenge of choosing one piece of music they would like to have with them if they were stranded on a deserted island. It’s an absurd notion, but also irresistible. See all the different approaches they took to the challenge right over here.

When considering the type of album someone would want to listen to for the rest of their life, many things come to mind: What kind of mood will I be in? Should it be a widely considered classic? Am I the only one that’s going to be listening to this album?

They’re many great artists with incredible albums, of course. The Beatles’ Revolver, Bob Marley’s Legend and anything by Kendrick Lamar. With all factors considered, I chose 2014 Forest Hills Drive by J. Cole as my desert island disc.

Cole is one of the most influential and popular artists in today’s music industry. He makes platinum albums without the use of features and album promotion. The phrase, “J. Cole went platinum with no features” is one that has been coined by his fans because he primarily composed and produced the entirety of the album and won awards like the BET Hip Hop Award for Album of the Year, Billboard Music Award for Top Rap Album in 2015, as well as a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rap Album in 2016. On January 8th, 2016, the album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). 

Not only is he one of the greatest rappers of all time, but he has an ability that most artists only dream of the ability to tell stories that connect. On songs like “Wet Dreams” and “St. Tropez” Cole spins intimate stories about his life.

“Wet Dreams” is the story of his youth and what it felt like to try and finesse a girl for the first time. He takes a common occurrence and turns it into a hit. Most middle school students know what it’s like to try and impress a significant other and how challenging this interaction can be. Being stuck on an island, away from reality would be challenging and this song would give relief through humor and storytelling. 

In “St. Tropez,” Cole talks about his early career when he was first going out to Hollywood. He asks himself if he’s ready to face fame and fortune, living in the limelight, and everything that comes with it. He also says fear should never stop someone from accomplishing their goals and chasing after their dreams.   

2014 Forest Hills Drive  connects you with Cole through multiple musical styles, which would keep the island listening experience fresh. 

Songs like “A Tale of 2 Citiez” and “Fire Squad”  will keep me pumped up and ready to take on any challenge the deserted island serves up. If it was a nice evening spent relaxing in the sand, letting “Intro” fade into “January 28th” as you sat back and looked at the stars. All of these songs gives the glimpse into Cole’s mind as he deals with different aspects of his life, whether it’s hardcore hip-hop or smooth melodies. 

 “Hello” and “Apparently” are two of my favorite songs from the album. Cole reflects on his life and the decisions he’s made. While listening, it’s easy to reflect on your own life choices and think about the actions that need to be taken in order to right any wrongdoings. Although the songs are about life’s mistakes, the uplifting tone makes you want to correct your fault.   

2014 Forest Hills Drive is a complete album with everything you need on an exclusive island getaway, even if that means being deserted. There is a song for any occasion and is a record that would be extremely hard to get tired of listening to. Each song comes with its own story, style and flow, grasping a unique aspect of the Cole’s life.

J. Cole is a truly gifted artist and his music would keep any inhabitants of a deserted island entertained for days, months and maybe even years. 

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Devin Townsend is a James Madison University student and student journalist born and raised in northern Virginia. Currently he’s studying for a degree in journalism and working for the school newspaper, The Breeze, in the culture section. This section covers music, movies, food and events happening in the Harrisonburg community. Currently, Devin is working to finish his degree, in his free time he enjoys playing club lacrosse at JMU, rooting for the L.A Chargers and hiking in the Shenandoah National Park.

CMN Music

Music3 days ago

Album Review: Tamino – ‘Amir (Deluxe)’

An expanded edition that offers poetic drama from beginning to end.

Music3 weeks ago

What Makes A Scary Song? Three Things Every Spooky Tune Needs

Genuinely scary sounds, an unsettling story, or just party jams with eerie sound effects?

Music3 weeks ago

React: Paste Magazine’s Best Albums of the 2010’s List

It's difficult for any one person to approach a list with complete objectivity,

CMN Vibes3 weeks ago

CMN Vibes: Spooky Season

The only playlist you'll need as Halloween gets closer.

Music1 month ago

4 Places to Read Great Music Journalism

Where to find great, free music writing and journalism on the web.

Essentials2 months ago

Four Useful Spotify Features for Music Writers: Part One

Tips, tricks and cool shortcuts to deepen your knowledge.

Music2 months ago

‘We’ll Carry On’: Examining the Legacy of Rock in the 2000s

The seeds planted by these bands are the reason rock will thrive for generations.

Music2 months ago

Man Arrested in Connection of Death of Rapper Mac Miller

28 year old Cameron James Pettit was arrested today on allegations of supplying deceased rapper Mac Miller with lethal drugs....

Music2 months ago

5 Things You’ll Quickly Learn After Moving From the USA to New Zealand

So you graduate college without any real career plan and decide to spend a year bartending so you can travel...

Music3 months ago

Review: Captain Beefheart, “Hair Pie: Bake 2”

An odd intrigue.

Essentials3 months ago

4 Podcasts Every Music Writer Should be Familiar With

Music journalists these days need to listen to a whole lot more than just music.

Music3 months ago

Cocaine and Rhinestones – Breaking Down Merle Haggard’s ‘Okie from Muskogee’

Tyler Mahan Coe brings the facts and the feel of history.

Music3 months ago

Track Review: Pool Kids – ‘$5 Subtweet’

Diving into a new age of confrontation.

by , SUNY Brockport
Music3 months ago

Hip-Hop’s Most Influential Artists of the Last Half -Decade

Drake, Migos, Travis Scott and more make the list.

by , SUNY Brockport
Music3 months ago

Podcast Review: The Needledrop: How To Get Into Death Grips

Dominick Rabrun joins Anthony Fantano for some intense chat.

Music3 months ago

Liily: Aiming to Turn the Music Industry Upside Down

California band is on the way up and has new music due out this fall.

Music3 months ago

Interview with Singer Natalie Clark

A CMN Q&A that touches on playing guitar, growing up in Glasgow, and being starstruck on 'The Voice.'

Essentials3 months ago

5 Essential Websites for Music Journalists

Great sources to confirm facts or come up with story ideas.

Music3 months ago

Brockhampton Announces New Album and Releases New Song

Brockhampton announced that their new album Ginger will be available on all platforms August 23. The budding rap group simultaneously...

Music3 months ago

Hot 100 Hometown Heat Map: Which State Makes the Most Hits?

Find where your favorite music comes from.

Music3 months ago

Podcast Review: ‘This Sounds Better’

A great podcast that covers key points important to engineers and producers.

by , Albright College
Music3 months ago

Podcast Review: Machine Gun Kelly on the CMN Podcast

Professional and informative.

by , SUNY Brockport

Great Reads

[]
1 Step 1
keyboard_arrow_leftPrevious
Nextkeyboard_arrow_right

Copyright © 2019 College Media Network