Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Revising a What If

Jon and I went camping with a few friends last May over Memorial Day weekend, and aside from the teeth-chattering temperatures and blood sucking mosquitoes that lurked in the night air, we had a really good time. We'd brought enough alcohol and s'more makings to last a month and we didn't dare let any of it go to waste.

I'm bringing this up now, 4 months later, because on our last night there, while huddled around the campfire, I was asked a question I haven't been able to get out of my head since:

If you were stranded on a deserted island with only a CD player and 5 albums, what albums would you want to have with you?

It seems like a simple enough question, but music is extremely important to me. I've even been known to be so dramatic as to say it's the reason I breathe, it's what pumps the blood through my veins. My mood, whatever it may be at a certain time, determines the music I have to have with me at that time, just as the music I'm listening to determines the mood I'm in. I mean, I named my freaking iPod for crying out loud! I live it and I love it and I have been banging my head against the walls since Memorial Day, trying to pick just 5 albums that could satisfy me for a lifetime.

My original answer went a little something like this:

1. Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes
2. Ani Difranco, To The Teeth
3. The Decemberists, Picaresque
4. The Decemberists, The Crane Wife
5. Death Cab for Cutie, Plans

I knew it was wrong a mere 2 minutes after the list left my mouth. Could I really stomach another 10 years of Little Earthquakes after it was the sound track of my teens? It's a great album, I still think Tori Amos is amazing, but I overplayed her big time, and she may bring back too many lonely memories to bare while stranded on a deserted island, alone. And not 1 but 2 Decemberists albums? Really? Do I not need more selection than that when I've only got 5 choices to begin with? And Death Cab for Cutie is great--a little more mainstream than I would prefer--but I don't think it's so much Death Cab as it is Ben Gibbard why this album is on here. Truth be told, if I wasn't married, I'd be all over Ben Gibbard like Mary is all over Michael Phelps in that AT&T commercial. Oh right, I'm already like that, but whatever. The point is I'm not so sure Death Cab is the direction I should have taken with that last pick.

So, I've had 4 months to think about this and I've come to the conclusion that this just isn't possible. I need the musical equivalent of Netflix on my deserted island so I can switch out my albums every couple of weeks.

It is possible, however, to pick 5 albums I would take with me if I were leaving on a cruise tomorrow. We can just pretend that my ship sank but I awoke to find myself washed up on the shore, and 20 yards away was a waterproof bag containing a CD player, an endless supply of batteries, and my 5 albums:

1. Modest Mouse, Good News For People Who Love Bad News
2. The Postal Service, Give Up
3. Kate Nash, Made of Bricks
4. The Decemberists, The Crane Wife
5. Ani Difranco, Revelling

There, and I even still have me some blissfully poetic Ben Gibbard, just in his mailman persona. Now, to make the list absolutely perfect, I really do need one of the other cruise passengers, God rest their soul, to have stuffed The Decemberists Picaresque into a little zip lock baggie and send it floating on over my way. I don't know how I'll ever make it forever without hearing The Engine Driver again.

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