It must be noted that this is not the same as, "What are your ten favourite albums?" In the deserted island scenario you must consider longevity and variety. The list can't be weighted too much towards a certain genre but, at the same time, you don't want to sacrifice favourites for breadth. And needless to say, no more than one album per artist, which is a lot more difficult than it seems.
I find this exercise tends to result in a list that's skewed towards older favourites with proven staying power. But whatever I currently have in heavy rotation often sneaks its way onto the list too. And overall mood is a factor. Hip-hop is definitely under-represented in the following list because I've been in a very indie rock mood for many months.
So here's my list as it stands now, today, sure to change upon further consideration and in no particular order (except for the first three, which required no thought whatsoever)...
- Surfer Rosa & Come On Pilgrim - Pixies (I bought them together on one disk so they count as one, honest!)
- Hoss - Lagwagon
- Bakesale - Sebadoh
- Twisted By Design - Strung Out
- All The Nations Airports - Archers of Loaf
- Paul's Boutique - Beastie Boys
- Shine A Light - Constantines
- So Long And Thanks For All The Shoes - NOFX
- Exile in Guyville - Liz Phair
- Original Musiquarium I & II - Stevie Wonder (Yeah, picking a comp is kinda cheating. But you try to choose a single Stevie album.)
I think I actually broke a sweat coming up with that list. The choices! Lagwagon and Strung Out but no Bad Religion because I couldn't choose between Against The Grain, Suffer and Recipe For Hate. Similarly, I almost chose Making Friends by No Use For A Name over NOFX because I didn't know whether So Long... should be picked over Punk In Drublic or Heavy Petting Zoo.
Then there's the indie rock. I am in love with The Get Up Kids right now. Yummy pop goodness and easily representative of The Weakerthans, The Inbreds, Superchunk, Weezer and their ilk. But which one of the chosen ten would I knock off the list in their stead? I already had to axe Modest Mouse, Good News for People Who Love Bad News and Dinosaur Jr., Where You Been?
Exile... may not be one of my ten favourite albums but makes the list because sometimes I need to hear a female voice. Of course, Kim is my all-time favourite in that department but the Pixies are already on the list.
It pains me that there is no Bob Marley on the list, or The Smugglers, or Pavement, or Rise Against, or more Pixies, or every Lagwagon album.
And as I said, I haven't been in a hip-hop mood lately. So no Tribe (can you believe it?), no K-Os, no OutKast and no Fugees. Paul's Boutique makes the cut because B-Boy Bouillabaisse alone, contains almost as much variety as my entire list. If I were on a deserted island and could only listen to one song...