We’ve all played the Ten (insert item here) You’d Take on an Island game. And we’re going to play it again right now.
10) The Who’s “Tommy”: It’s literally an epic story set to music. My kind of album.
9) Led Zeppelin’s “IV”: It might be the most mainstream of Zeppelin’s discography, but it earned that reputation because it is, in my opinion, their strongest work. Zeppelin’s in-your-face style was taken to another level on this album, particularly on “Black Dog” and “When the Levee Breaks,” the opening and closing tracks, respectively.
8) Rush’s “2112”: I’m pretty sure the statement “Rush is awesome” is one of the phrases found on the Rosetta Stone. And “2112” proves why. Imagine a brilliant, epic classical piece by Bach or Beethoven, except with one of the best drummers on Earth and rocking guitar. That’s “2112.”
7) Michael Jackson’s “Bad”: I bet you thought I was going to take “Thriller,” right? I considered it, but this album has “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “Smooth Criminal,” just to name a few. It’s such a strong collection of music from top to bottom that I was thiiiiiiiis close to taking “Thriller.” I resisted, though. I’m proud of myself.
6) Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”: Okay, so I took “Thriller” too. Gimme a break! It’s “Thriller!”
5) Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Stadium Arcadium”: For some reason I can’t quite explain, this album has always been special to me. I think it’s because I got it during my freshman year of college and it brings up fond memories. Plus, how many bands release double disc albums nowadays? “Stadium Arcadium” had just the right blend of radio songs and deep tracks. Although, “Dani California” got so much airplay that I still can’t really listen to it to this day.
4) Dave Matthews Band’s “Crash”: DMB is a polarizing band, but for those who are in their corner, “Crash” is held in high regard. Their jam band style is in full effect here with tracks including “Tripping Billies” and “Two Step,” but slower songs like “#41” and “Proudest Monkey” keep the album from feeling too fast-paced. Plus, it seems like the perfect album to listen to on a beach.
3) Billy Joel’s “The Stranger”: Billy Joel is my favorite musician, and Piano Man is my favorite song. So why didn’t I pack “Piano Man” in my Desert Island Album Collection? Because “The Stranger” is that good. It contains some of Joel’s strongest music, from “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” to “The Stranger” (the song, not the album). Honestly, now that I think about it, any Billy Joel album would make me happy…
2) Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run”: I’ve already written about The Boss, and this album is his finest work. There is not a bad song on this album, and it delivers from start to finish.
1) Pearl Jam’s “Ten”: This album is perfect. It’s essentially a greatest hits album, but it also has soulful tracks and the perfect combination of ass-kicking riffs and soothing melodies. It’s fitting that this top ten lists ends with “Ten.”