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.
I’m imagining I’m on a luxury cruise in a tropical paradise when a maelstrom ensues, and I’m swept ashore. As I drain my ears, I hear the faint sounds of a record in the distance. Through the bellowing winds and shaking trees, I vaguely make out the lyrics: “I don’t know where I’m a gonna go when the volcano blow.”
I lose myself in my laughter: how appropriate given the events and location.
I run to the source. Upon arrival, the sun tears through the raging storm to shower its immaculate rays upon my savior machine: a boombox and Jimmy Buffett’s Meet Me in Margaritaville: The Ultimate Collection.
With this 38-track wonder collection of Buffett tunes my new island life won’t be as bad. I reset the album to track one and scavenge the remains of the ship’s bar to find what will undoubtedly become my island’s sacred drink — a margarita.
There are few better albums to be stuck on an island with. This collection has two discs, a total of 140 minutes of songs that’ll make you dance, weep, and embrace the Zac Brown Knee Deep mentality: “The only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair.”
Now stuck, for better or worse, I’ve found my Margaritaville.
As a child, I spent many days enraptured by an island environment via Jimmy Buffett and Super Mario Sunshine — often I’d have Buffett play in the background as I played the game. Having this album with me on a deserted island would both fit the setting and, though bittersweet, allow me to live out a fantasy of tropical island life.
The record mixes a variety of tropical rock and folk music with a touch of Cajun, Zydeco, and Samba music. Though it’s all Buffett, it boasts enough variety to stay fresh through repeat listens. Tracks like “Jolly Mon Sing”, “Grape Fruit / Juicy Fruit”, and “Tin Cup Chalice” would be great company on star-covered nights, and the hits like “Volcano”, “Fins”, “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and, of course, “Margaritaville” would keep me energetic during the day.
The mix of emotions that the album offers will be of great utility as I live out my days, alone and stranded.
The album has almost every Buffett song you could hope for besides “The Weather is Here, I Wish You Were Beautiful”, “Chanson Pour Les Petits Enfants”, and “Boat Drinks.”
In these circumstances, “Boat Drinks” would be the most helpful: that song once pulled me out of a winter-time cabin fever slump, and I’d imagine this island situation is going to be a long string of cabin fever slumps of a different sort.
Not stranded on an island? Give the album a whirl anyway.
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.