I was listening to NPR's soundcheck this weekend and I heard an interview with Phil Freeman, editor of the new book "Marooned." In this book, 20 critics decide which album they'd take with them if they had to live on a desert island, and then write an essay on their desert island disc. The editor claims that this question is very relevant and important to answer. While I can't agree that it's important to decide which disc you'd choose to listen to for eternity, I do think it's sort of an interesting question. As I listened to Phil's pretentious chatter about how he chose the best critics ("my initial writers' criteria was-- no writers over 40") my hatred for him grew steadily. He mentioned that he didn't want to pick anyone who was into "indie/alternative/college rock" because in his words "this is the worst kind of music." Hmmm. Interesting for someone who is the self-proclaimed master of music to completely dismiss several genres. Then, he went on to say that he especially did not want to select a critic who would choose an album by what he proclaims to be "the worst band in the history of music"-- Pavement. It was at this point that Mr. Freeman officially solidified his status as a douche bag.
Good old Phil went on to share with the world his important statement that "heavy metal is the only thing keeping rock music alive at this point." His personal choice for his desert island album? No Remorse by Motorhead. Soundcheck played a track from this CD called Ace of Spades and it's the most painful, ridiculous garbage I've ever listened to. Let's just take a look at the lyrics, shall we?
If you like to gamble, I tell you I'm your man,
You win some, lose some, all the same to me,
The pleasure is to play, makes no difference what you say,
I don't share your greed, the only card I need is
The Ace Of Spades
Playing for the high one, dancing with the devil,
Going with the flow, it's all the same to me,
Seven or Eleven, snake eyes watching you,
Double up or quit, double stake or split,
The Ace Of Spades
You know I'm born to lose, and gambling's for fools,
But that's the way I like it baby,
I don't wanna live for ever,
And don't forget the joker!
Pushing up the ante, I know you wanna see me,
Read 'em and weep, the dead man's hand again,
I see it in your eyes, take one look and die,
The only thing you see, you know it's gonna be,
The Ace Of Spades
Oh man. If this was one of 12 songs I had to listen to for the rest of my life, I would surely hang myself from a palm tree immediately. But then again, how could I possibly expect to hear a good selection from someone who claims that Pavement is the worst band of all time?
I decided to answer this desert island music question myself. The album I choose is Brighten the Corners by Pavement. I selected this album not only as a fuck you to Phil Freeman, but also because I really think it is one of the greatest albums of all time. It's fun to listen to, it doesn't take itself too seriously, and yet at times it does get serious. The album is melodic and soothing at points, and totally rocking in others. Every song is an awesome masterpiece with genius lyrics. I first bought this album in my junior year of high school and it has been a regular staple of my music library ever since. Songs like "Stereo" and "Shady Lane" are incredible, instant favorites. But it's the songs like the last track "Fin" that keep me coming back for more. I rediscovered this song a few months ago and literally listened to it on repeat for an hour. I was taken away on a music journey. I know this sounds cheesy, but it's totally true. I will sum up my case for this album with a quote from pitchfork media:
"Still shocking the music world with their wacky, off-kilter brand of music, Pavement come back hard in 1997 with Brighten The Corners. Having never released an album that was even remotely bad, Pavement continue to awe with songs like "Shady Lane" and "We are Underused." Yeah, it's a fact. Stephen Malkmus and company pretty much got it goin' on."
Put that in your pipe and smoke it Mr. Freeman!!
But now, on to you... what is your desert island album? I hope to God it's not Motorhead.