A recent new friend of mine asked me a couple of weeks ago (as a way of getting to know me better, having no doubt been told that ‘music’ is my only defining characteristic) what my ‘desert island disks’ would be. He told me I had 5 to chose from, and he wanted an answer at that moment. Panic-stricken, not wanting to make a wrong impression, aware that other people were watching & reminded that I have a (admittedly mild) reputation to repute, I resisted the urge to shout ‘Spice Girls: the best of’ as my first answer.
This is a HARD question. Everyone enjoys music for different reasons, and in different ways. I’ve always stood by the notion that I don’t have any ‘guilty pleasures’; if I like something I don’t need to qualify my opinion and, as I said, different music has different purposes and intentions. Most of these albums take me to a very specific time and place, a different part of my life that is brought back every time I hear one of these songs. To me it doesn’t matter what the critics thought, how high the record went in the charts, or whether my uni professor likes it. Music is a universal language, but it means something different to everyone. Sometimes it’s something really specific- our stomach lurches when a crap pop song comes on the radio, remembering THAT boyfriend, that breakup. Other times it takes us back to whole summers, running around in a field in a flowery skirt with our best friend, thinking that nothing could ever make us feel as free (see number 3, Fran your friendship still makes me feel as free as it always has).
None of the above changes the fact that this could be very embarrassing.
So, *deep breath*, after much (much) thought, and slightly fearful of how this may forever define me, in no particular order (this was enough of a challenge), here are my 5 desert island disks:
1) Beautiful South- Solid Bronze (greatest hits)– I don’t remember the first time I listened to this album, I think my mum probably played it while I was in the womb. I know how crap it is, and I listen to it now and mostly laugh. But ‘Don’t Marry Her’ still makes me cry, and ‘Rotterdam’ will always come on when me and mum are drunk and we will hug and cry as if it’s some massive private thing that we have where that song really means something. I think it just reminds her of when it was just us, doing the washing up in our massive Belfast sink and listening to this terrible, terrible album on repeat.
2) Thunder- The Very Best of Thunder– Who even knew there could be a very best of thunder? My dad used to play this in the car all the time- it’s one of the first things I remember about him (he adopted me when I was 4). I still remember all the words, and I see the streets of my hometown and my dad pretending the steering wheel was a drum kit every time I listen to this. It was the first CD I owned; he bought it for me when it wasn’t even my birthday. Love you daddy.
3) Donavan Frankenreiter (self-titled)– This album was given to me and my mum as a present when I was young. ‘He’s like Jack Johnson, really big over in Oz, you’ll love it.’ I more than love it. It reminds me of so many happy summers, and the title track ‘It Don’t Matter’ took on an entirely new meaning when I was lucky enough to sing it with Donavan on stage last summer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaI5zLnHZu0).
4) Paolo Nutini- Caustic Love– A more recent one. I genuinely think this is one of the best albums ever written. It’s so sexy and sophisticated, without being so pretentious that I have to just pretend to like it in front of my cool friends. Paolo Nutini has been one of my favourites for forever, but he out-did himself with this one. ‘Scream (Funk my Life Up)’ is so fucking good. If you haven’t fallen in love with this record go and listen to it, and dance naked in your bedroom while pretending Paolo is watching you under his mop of a fringe. Sigh.
5) Jack Johnson- In Between Dreams– My stepdad bought this from WHSmiths when I was a kid because it was £3. My (sometimes obsessive) love of Jack Johnson has only grown since. I guess this album is symbolic of a few things about my life- it was at that young age, listening to ‘Better Together’ on the fluffy carpet in the dining room that I decided I was going to listen to this kind of music all the time, move to the seaside, learn to surf, travel to sunny places and go to as many gigs as I could. This in turn lead me to move to Falmouth, do a degree in music so that I could meet other people that like Jack Johnson (haha) and work in a healthy-surf-travel cafe on the weekends. This album didn’t so much change my life as it did shape it altogether.
Well, there they are! Now you can imagine exactly what rubbish I’m listening to as I’m stuck on my own little desert island, hopefully sipping a margarita and surrounded by all the people that have influenced my music taste to be so bloody bad (thanks mum and dad).
Follow me on Spotify (https://open.spotify.com/user/jadiephipps) to find out what else I like, it’s not all that crap I promise.