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 right over here.
Ever dreamt you’ve been shipwrecked on a deserted island? I have.
The first thought that always comes to my mind — above food and basic survival of course — is what music I would bring with me to listen to for the rest of my days. I’ve always known that anything I’d bring I’d grow tired of after a week, and its impossible to decide on one artist to listen to for the rest of your life.
My lack of knowledge of survival skills coupled with my unwillingness to live in extremely stressful situations wouldn’t last me a day in my new fate anyway. For these reasons, instead of a lengthy album or tape of my favorite songs, I’ve decided on a playlist that would both lyrically and sonically depict my actions and moods during the fist day of being shipwrecked.
- Tears For Fears “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” – I imagine my self waking up with debris scattered around me as the lyrics “Welcome to your life/there’s no turning back” play in the background. The guitar riffs on the chorus are electrifying, like pools of wonder and confusion for my new surroundings.
- Empire of the Sun “Walking on a Dream” – After I’ve woken up on a deserted island this song would start to play, symbolizing me second guessing if I really had in fact just crashed on an island by myself, effectively ending my life. Just like the title of the song am I really walking on a dream.
- New Radicals “You Get What You Give” – The Crescendo of this track is amazing. Just listening to it now — even with out being stuck on an island — it makes me want to get up and do something. It’s filled with inspiring lyrics like “Don’t give up” and “you got a reason to live.” This track would give me the will to survive after being in denial about my environment from the previous song. The lyric “You only get what you give” would make me want to work to survive.
- Queen “The Show Must go on” – Here it is, the first breaking point in my journey. I’m trying to push myself to survive, but want to give up so badly. Freddie Mercury’s hauntingly beautiful vocals triumph over electric guitar and heavy piano to revive an age old message, “the show must go on.” It’s even more impressive as the singer himself was fighting for his on life at the time of recording.
- Christopher Cross “Sailing” – Now I’ve passed out from exhaustion. Freddie’s uproarious vocals have worked me to the bone. I’m in a dream like state as I begin to hallucinate through Christopher Cross’s creamy melody and lyrics detailing a desire to escape
onestroubles. I’m drifting. Or better yet, sailing.
- Stephanie Mills “Never Knew Love Like This Before” – I’m officially hallucinating now. A brighter note in my journey, Stephanie Mills manages to somewhat bring me back to life. This classic ’70s track would inspire. Anyone to take a dance break.
- Minnie Riperton “Loving You” – I’ve woken up from my hallucination. True melancholy is what this song evokes. the somber piano chords cascade against Riperton’s four-octave coloratura soprano, as she dedicates the song to her daughter.
- Bobby Caldwell “What You Won’t do for Love” – The sun is going down as the trumpet, trombone, and tenor sax blare thorough the outro of this track. A picturesque beach scenery fills the horizon as Caldwell’s soulful vocals wail in the background. A smoldering look — like the one Richard Gere wears in Pretty Woman — falls upon my face.
- Sade “Pearls” – Sade calls out to the heavens above and so do I. Night has fallen and all chance of rescue have disappeared. The British singer sounds as clear as water: “halleluiah” is a cry for help that no one answers.
- Sufjan Stevens ” Visions of Gideon” – The credits roll. It’s the end of the journey, just like the ending of a film. acceptance, immense sadness, but contempt. The lyrics “is it a video? Is it a video?” fade into the darkness.
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.