Wednesday, November 16, 2011

J5 By Nolan P

So this article is going to be a tad bit different from my last two because this time around I’ve asked my fellow Senior, Jackson M., to comment on some of his favorites. Here is the scenario: Jackson is on a desert island and the only thing he has on him is a speaker system and a CD player that holds a few CDs. He has no idea when he will be saved so he has to decide which CDs he is willing to listen to for years on end. Here is his top five list:

Jay – Black Album (2003)
Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
Queen – Greatest Hits (1981 and a follow up in 1991)
Disturbed – 10,000 Fists (2005)
Kanye West – Late Registration (2005)

More on the music…

Jay – Black Album (2003)

There are many albums that allude to the Beatle’s White Album (Spinal Tap’s The Black Album and Weezer’s Red Album) but few come as close to accomplishing that level of greatness as Jay-Z’s Black Album. Jay-Z is a rapper’s rapper and on the Black Album his lyrics are impeccable, earning it a spot on Mr. M.’s “Desert Island” list. “I like it when I know all the lyrics,” Jackson said “and on a desert Island I have time to learn all of them.” Personally I like how this album has lent itself to some legendary mash up: Danger Mouse’s Grey Album (the fusion of the Jay-Z and Beatles albums) and “Bittersweet Dirt off My Shoulders” (“Bittersweet Symphony” by the Verve and “Dirt off My Shoulders”). Jackson cites the key tracks to be “Public Service Announcement” for the lyrics and beat, “Dirt off My Shoulders” so “I can practice brushing my shoulders off when I run into desert island problem e.g. running out of food”; “99 Problems” because “On a desert island I will have at least 99 problems, but none of them will relate to ladies or dogs”; and “Moment of Clarity” for “when I have a revelation.”

Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

Jackson had a little bit of trouble picking a Beatles album but he was positive that he would take one of them. He decided on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Sgt. Pepper is considered by many to be the most important record ever made, and if you listen to it you can see why. As a record, Sgt. Pepper is a musical juggernaut, but the Beatles also cranked out some of their greatest individual songs here. “A Day in the Life” has been one of my favorite Beatles songs for a long time. This is partly because it is the pinnacle of Lennon/McCartney song writing: John Lennon starts the song with a deep psychedelic trance and Paul McCartney counterbalances this with a happy-go-lucky pop interlude. Jackson’s favorite tracks include “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” because “That is what I will call the band I form on the island, in which I will play every instrument”; “With a Little Help from My Friends” which “I will play for the monkeys I befriend to help me build a raft”; the aforementioned “A Day in the Life” because “If I can’t have my own interesting days, I will hear about someone else’s”; and of course “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” quite simply for “stargazing purposes.”

Queen – Greatest Hits (1981 and a follow up in 1991)

I only gave him one “Greatest Hits” choice and he decided on Queen; a solid choice in my humble opinion. Queen has more diversity than an ISA meeting (metaphorically speaking.) Over the course of their career they dabbled in everything from Opera to Hard Rock and made music like absolutely nobody else ever will. They often border on humor, but there is no doubt that they were serious musicians making seriously kick-butt music. I really can’t do them justice unless you hear them yourselves (and I’m sure you all have). So let’s cut to the chase. J-Mo’s favorites are “Don’t Stop Me Now” since “It’s the most feel-good song ever made,” “You’re My Best Friend” for “The montage of me and by volleyball friend Wilson having good times,” the obvious “Bohemian Rhapsody”: “Oh what’s that? Everyone knows the words? Well I know them better,” and of course, “Bicycle Race”, “Um… I want to ride my bicycle?”

Disturbed – 10,000 Fists (2005)

Being stuck on a desert island would make most people quite upset. In fact I’d be raging pretty hard if it were me. For that purpose alone Jackson has picked the Disturbed album, 10,000 Fists for all raging purposes. I’m going to be frank – this album is just pure metal. It’s angry, it’s loud, and it’s unrelenting. When all of your pent up frustration about being stuck on an island needs to be unleashed, this is the soundtrack to do it to. Face melting highlights include “10,000 Fists” which “Will get me pumped for my island work outs,” “Just Stop” because it’s pure “RAAAAGE”, “Deify” – “LOUD NOISES,” and the Guitar Hero feature “Stricken” – “SO MUCH TESTOSTERONE!!”

Kanye West – Late Registration (2005)

Yeezy has yet to make a record I don’t thoroughly enjoy, and his sophomore effort earned a spot on Jackson’s desert island tape deck. Like all Kanye releases Late Registration features a myriad of different guest artists from the entire music spectrum. The Game shows up for Crack Raps and Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine is featured on Heard Em’ Say, but Jamie Foxx steals the show when he sings the Ray Charles song “I Got A Woman” for the hook of Kanye’s biggest song to date “Gold Digger”. Registration shows off Kanye’s unmatched skill for sampling; from Ray Charles on “Gold Digger” to the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds are Forever on “Diamonds of Sierra Leon.” Jackson favorites are “Hey Mama” because “Kanye West is just a giant teddy bear,” “Drive Slow” which is “a nice and slow song to vibe out to out,” “Gold Digger” so “I can laugh at someone’s first world problems NOT stuck on a desert island,” and of course “Diamonds of Sierra Leon” which “has a great sample. Also, Diamonds are forever…”

Well Put J-Mo. Well put. 

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