19 Apr 2012
Desert Island Discs Selected By Chris Drayton
"I found I only need four DID's. The rest ....fail...for one reason or another, even though I have dozens of regularly played and long term favourite albums I'm pleased to put on when the mood strikes. Just not all of the time, right? Stuck on an island with Black Francis? or Thom Yorke? No thanks. Bringing their likes would eventually undo me."
1. Psychedelic Furs - Psychedelic Furs (1980)
I play this every few, well years now, just to make sure it's as good as I think it is. Eventually I get astounded that no one else seems to talk or even know about it much. So I go back to check. It always is. Good. Great. It has never palled, and I'm betting one of my four DID's it never will. Has that most honourable trait whereby every song eventually becomes your favorite and once you've got to that space, you begin to rediscover them all again, but this time on a higher plane. I'm on my.... fourth or fifth life with this album and I reckon at this rate it has maybe...nine. So I'm a green belt or something. What's it like? Well it's dank, close, washed out, compressed, deflated, mostly grey and sometimes serene but streaked with great brown shards of dirty noise and the odd beautifully timed and nuanced glimpse of simple beauty. But still hard to it's dark mineral core. Yeah it has Raw Power, Never Mind the Bollocks, Roxy Music and art-scene Bowie shot all through it, but it just feels like the Furs got there first.
2. New Order - Brotherhood (1986)
I hate every single review I've ever read about this album. And I've realised that no one else gets it. I don't know why I get it, but like all good zealots, I know I do. This album snuck up on me like a long term neighbour who you suspect and then realise one day is actually, like, hot, really hot. I think I had 10 years and 100 odd plays under my belt before it dawned on me that I hadn't really stopped playing it and started wondering why. Yeah, like all types of true beauty, it's not pefect - it's kind of uneven, and has the odd unmemorable song on it - but you could spend a lifetime trying to unpick the barrage crescendo to As it Was, When it Was (hey, I've devoted a third of mine already) and the ever-spooling Pink Floyd clock-break dynamics of the coda to All Day Long. And then there's Bizarre Love Triangle and the Head on the Door-bettering goth ballads strewn all through side one. And then there's the other ones that just don't ever outstay their welcome. Good company I'd say.
3. Talking Heads - More Songs About Buildings and Food (1978)
No album has more musical ideas going on than this. The bass, the drums, the chinky chink guitar and the writer are all having a new and risky idea roughly every 12 to 15 seconds. Apart from the Grand Guignol version of Take Me to the River, where they only manage to add a few. And they're all good. The songs chop and change and turn and dive like a kind of a musical speed chess session over an entire 12 or whatever track album. This album astounds and because of it's restless, shifting, mercurial nature is virtually unfathomable and unplummable and I reckon will require a good part of my natural life's worth to uncover. And it's so beautiful and the singer so...strangely and comfortingly like you or me or anyone who finds odd bits of our life and culture a bit arresting. Really smart people at work here.
4. The Smiths - Meat is Murder (1985)
I take this for a different reason than the other three. I know this album like the back of my hand. It no longer surprises. I've reached the end of it. But like grabbing an old photograph, I couldn't bear to live a life where I could never hear the Headmaster Ritual, I Want the One I can't Have or What She Said again.
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Labels: Desert Island Discs