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Desert Island Disc Challenge: Album Necessities

Albums that don’t necessarily contain favorite songs, but work as a whole.

Rachel Cross

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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.


If I were on a desert island and had to choose one album to listen to forever which would I select?

My biggest problem when it comes to answering this question is that my mood changes and my music choice is always based on my mood. So instead of driving myself mad trying to find an answer to this impossible question, I’ve selected five favorite albums (in no particular order).

I picked these albums not necessarily because they contain my favorite songs, but because I truly love them as a whole piece.

Childish Gambino – Because The Internet

This entire album, especially “III. Telegraph Ave. (“Oakland” by Lloyd),” puts me right in the Bay Area, driving though Oakland, or walking through the streets of San Francisco.

The first time I heard Because The Internet, I was instantly mesmerized. I loved Gambino’s hard rap style on “Heartbeat” from his 2011 album: Camp, but this project was different.

“Zeolots Of Stockholm” is like taking a train through space. Its electronic sound waves give it a futuristic flare. The pull and flow the keyboards and beat  travels like a wave through the entire track.

This album a go-to record any time I find myself alone with my thoughts. It has a few fun pump-up songs that are hard not to turn all the way to 11.

It’s easy to get lost in this album. The time practically whirs by with each track, making it a great desert island disc.

Drake – Nothing Was The Same

This album has a beautiful balance of love (“From Time” ft. Jhene Aiko) and hate (“Worst Behavior”).

Many artists produce music inspired by love and hate, but this album stands out. Drake raps about love and hate and everything in between.

This is a go-to record for those falling in or out of love.

Solitude and self reflection go hand-in-hand. Although self reflection can quickly go into a slippery slope, this album helps to pump the breaks before hitting the bottom — making it a desert island-must.

letlive. – The Blackest Beautiful

When this album came out, it was the only thing I could listen to for months.  The song dives into today’s America, specifically, LA (“White America’s Beautiful Black Market”).

Letlive brings an element of poetry to Punk Rock that few bands can match. The Blackest Beautiful goes so much deeper than simple fear (“That Fear Fever”) or anger (“Dreamers Disease”).

The Blackest Beautiful is self-reflective for the listener. I find it comforting to listen to when I feel overwhelmed and I’m not sure what to do. It helps me not to feel alone or like I’m going crazy. It showed me that other people ask similar questions or have the same fears that I do in life.

The Neighbourhood – Wiped Out

No band captures the sound of my hometown Newbury Park, quite like The Neighbourhood in “Ferrari.”

The song captures the essence of Newbury Park, a small town, in between the city and “The Beach”. Wiped Out creates a balancing of relaxation with a touch of sadness.

Even if you have “Daddy Issues” or if you’re a big “Cry Baby,” this record helps you to go with the flow though any hard time.

Brand New – Science Fiction

This album tells a story from start to finish.

The songs fit together like one big puzzle. The emotion and energy of this record change with every listen. Audio cuts of therapy sessions from an anonymous character are laced throughout the album, precisely encapsulating relatable feelings of angst and nervousness, feelings bound to cross the mind of someone stranded on a desert island.

With these albums in my arsenal, I might manage to stay sane on a desert island. I would have entertainment, and a way to feel inspired, feel, and at home.

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.

Rachel is a Journalism and Communications major student in Southern California. She has also studied briefly at Arizona State University. She started her journalism career in high school where she attended and competed in 3 consecutive years at the JEA/NSPA National Higher Journalism Convention. Currently, Rachel is working to finish her degree, and in her free time she enjoys hiking, going to the beach, and fueling her love for coffee and books.

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