For this month’s playlist, the music department imagines that while on a journey across the high seas in search for great music for the KCSBfm music library, their ship is wrecked by a torrential storm and they were left stranded on a desert island. These are the ten songs that they’d hope to have with them to keep them company.
I approached this playlist with the philosophy that these are songs I could listen to over and over as I waited for our island rescue, plus songs that would play in key moments of our castaway adventures.
1. “Freebird II” – The Parquet Courts
– The bassline in this song is terrific. The lyrics are phenomenal, they paint a picture of a narrator who looks back on memories of his life and of a person he’s lost. This song always inspires introspection in me, which is perfect because being stranded on a desert island would lend itself to copious amounts of introspection.
2.“Marquee Moon” – Television
– I’m not exactly sure what this song is about. But I do know it is a masterpiece. It’s got three parts, each of which increases the tension in the song. The song climaxes with a long and heavy guitar jam which resolves into a glittering collection of twangy fingerpicking. I could listen to this one on repeat and find something new to like about it each time.
3. “This is the Day” – The The
– I can think of so many nights that can be described by the first line of this song. In fact, I think I relate to the lyrics of this song quite a bit. It’s a song about that universal experience of telling yourself that even though things haven’t exactly been going your way so far, tomorrow will be the day they do. This illusion fades away on the island. The vocals on this track work perfectly with the unorthodox combination of 80s synthesizers and harmonica instrumentation. This is another one of those songs that would make wonderful company on our little island.
4. “Volver A Comenzar” – Café Tacvba
– After some time on the island, I’m beginning to realize that material possessions aren’t all that hot. What’s more, all that really matters in life is the people you meet and connect with. After some undetermined amount of time being deprived of all the comforts of civilizations, I think I’m actually starting to dig it. I reach the conclusion that I’ll be leaving behind all my material possessions when I make it out of this island, and focusing on fostering the important relationships in my life. This song is the soundtrack to that epiphany.
5. “Time Out Of Mind” – Steely Dan
– Okay, to be honest, I think we’re all going kind of crazy here. It might be the fact that we have not been able to drink anything but coconut water for who knows how long, but I think the hallucinations are setting in. I’m starting to see dragons and I really wish the water would change to cherry wine. This song is pretty good though.
6. “Roadrunner” – The Modern Lovers
– In every castaway story, there has to be a part where the protagonists run from some sort of island menace. If this is one of those stories, and we find ourselves on the run from, say, an angry island rhinoceros, then this is the song that would play.
7. “At The Chime Of A City Clock” – Nick Drake
– I’m missing the concrete, the cars, the sirens, and the smog, I’m missing the world. The combination of violins, saxophone, and rhythmic picking of this song feel like what New York is supposed to be, and right now, I would do just about anything to be in a concrete jungle instead of a real one.
8. “New Sensations” – Lou Reed
– It’s been a while now, we’ve kind of wrapped our heads around the idea of staying here forever. I’m starting to find joy in this strange new life. Things could be worse, the island is pretty beautiful, the weather is ideal, and I think I’m getting used to the slow pace of life on the island.
9. “The Passenger” – Siouxsie and the Banshees
– Finally! A plane passes overhead and we signal it with a fire. We’re saved. Now we sit on the back of a rescue plane, looking down at the tiny circle that was our home during this not-so-brief intermission in our lives. It’s hard not to feel completely like a passenger in this moment, when we all realize that out lives are not really in our control, or else we would have never gotten stranded in the first place. But also, things are put into perspective, we’re not the same people who set out on this journey to begin with. But alas, civilization awaits!
10. “Sunset People” – Donna Summer
– The first thing I’d do after coming home from being stranded on an island is make my way to Sunset Boulevard and hit up The Roxy, The Troubadour, and The Whiskey A Go-Go. This song would be the ideal soundtrack to the surreal feeling of being back in the city.
The songs I picked were a mix of songs that cater to different emotions and situations I may be experiencing during the long days and nights on the island.
1. “Make it Out” – YM, Samad Savage, & Mindoffstage
– Although I found this song pretty recently through a friend, I was immediately hooked by the chorus, which features great vocals in which you can really hear the emotion behind what he is saying. The same can be said about the rest of the song, and it is why I enjoy it so much. I always tend to lean towards liking songs where you really feel the lyrics. It can also be related to the situation of being stranded on an island, not knowing when we are going to make it out.
2. “Tongue Tied” – Sango & Asante
– With this song it comes down to wanting something by this artist/producer. I love Sango as a producer and this is a nice, long song that, due to the combination of techno and afrobeat influences, will always make it easy to groove to, dancing along the beach at night. If you want some added meaning to make it more substantial, you could link being tongue tied to being how problematic socializing is going to be after being stranded on an island for who knows how long.
3. “Liberation” – SiR & Anderson .Paak
– The amazing duo of SiR and Anderson .Paak is a powerhouse of musical talent. This song comes off of SiR’s debut album, Seven Sundays, which was before his days at Top Dawg Entertainment. Overall it is a very unique song with both distorted and regular instrumentals that emanates an amazing energy. Evidenced through the song title, the emphasis on liberation throughout the entire song is perfect for trying to stay positive day after day, stranded on a desert island.
4. “Still” – Saba, 6lack, & Smino
– Featuring three of my favorite artists of all time, “Still” encapsulates the feeling of holding on to things you may or may not wish you still hold on to. I imagine listening to this on the island during days I’m missing everything from the real world just a little extra. The dreamy atmosphere it creates will definitely play into me feeling that I, “still can’t believe this is all real.”
5. “Waiting for You” – Rexx Life Raj & Russ
– For this one it more so tugs on a heart string for me and I would just hope to never forget it. It can be used to enforce both positive and negative reminiscing which makes it very versatile. The beat has a slight beachy vibe to it as well so it would fit the environment pretty well.
6. “Closer to God” – D Smoke & SiR
– Once again enlisting SiR on this list shows how much I love him as an artist, and of course I had to include this beautiful song off of his brother D Smoke’s album Black Habits. Although I am Jewish, I can appreciate the piano and organ in this song that gives the song its churchy feel. I feel as though it would represent the questioning of everything that would be going on in my head during this unbelievable event.
7. “Better Days” – Dermot Kennedy & EARTHGANG
– Just like “Liberation” that was talked about earlier, “Better Days” would act as an uplifting song to get through the unfortunate circumstances. I think I would imagine myself in a montage to this song, putting in work to get off the island as it begins to pick up. It would bring me hope that things would get better and in the end I would make it back to the ones I love.
8. “Roll (Burbank Funk) [KAYTRANADA Remix] – The Internet & KAYTRANADA
– A combination of the amazing group The Internet and ridiculously talented producer KAYTRANADA was a must add. Anything KAYTRANADA produces has a bounce to it that just makes you want to dance at least a little bit. The title itself also pays homage to my hometown, Burbank.
9. “Dance” – Jay Safari
– The name of this song pretty much says it all. If I’m stranded on an island, I gotta try and keep some positivity in the air, and what better way to do that then dance. This feel-good track makes you feel carefree, something you will most definitely need after days of exhaustion and working. Reminiscent of some of Pharell’s older work, it brings a sort of nostalgic feel while also feeling new and unique.
10. “Cynthia” – Maxwell Hunter, Masego, & Dan Foster
– Finally we have “Cynthia,” which features yet another one of my favorite artists, Masego. I had to throw this instrumental heavy song in here due to my absolute love of the sounds of a saxophone. The sax, as well as the piano later on in the song have me envisioning a moment in which I can take a break from everything, sit down for a second, and just appreciate the music. “This is my last letter to you…”
1. Petite Garçon – No Going Back
– Being stranded on an island is probably overwhelming, and this is the perfect song to bring perspective to a shitty situation. Time is a fact, and there’s no going back.
2. Quasi – The Happy Prole
– Freed from the tyranny of the clock and the burden of capital-driven responsibility, I listen to this song while lounging in a makeshift hammock as the sound of waves meeting the shore sizzles in the background. It’s a silly little piano song at that point, not a class-conscious coping mechanism.
3. Danny Clark and The Upsetters – Uh Fi Run It Down
– I found this song off a bootleg Lee Perry comp album that I bought on a whim at Amoeba and I’ve been obsessed ever since. I’ve yet to hear a more perfect beach song and I probably never will.
4. maudlin of the Well – Stones of October’s Sobbing
– Man, maudlin is so criminally underrated. I don’t even really listen to metal and both of their 2001 albums are still 10/10 masterpieces to me. And in a survival setting this particular song would instantly activate goblin mode and allow me to forage a week’s worth of food in one night.
5. Gal Costa – Lost in Paradise
– Rule #1 of KCSB Island: There are no rules
– Rule #2: What happens in the cave, stays in the cave
– Rule #3: Flatulence encouraged
– Rule #4: No old people allowed, EXCEPT for Gal Costa because her voice is fr*ckin beautiful!
– Rule $5: Any objections, please refer to Rule #1
6. Duster – Orbitron
– Duster songs would hit noticeably less on a desert island since there wouldn’t be interpersonal stuff to get anxious about and no weed or alcohol; the three core lyrical themes across most of their discography. But Duster is my favorite band, this is my favorite Duster song, and I’m sure there’s still plenty to be existential about on this island, so I’ll include it here.
7. Mas L – Bay Areas Nice
– If I’m gonna be stranded on a desert island I’ll need something to help remind me of home.
8. Sunami – Y.A.B.
– Two Bay Area anthems in a row. Except Sunami is maybe a bit more jingoistic in the way they preach Bay supremacy. “There’s two kinds of people in this world: there’s real motherfuckers from the Bay, and a bunch of bitches that wish they were.”
9. Eugene Mcdaniels – Sagitarius Red
– Very inspirational. I can see myself digging a big hole to this.
10. Saccharine Trust – A Human Certainty.
– I have a ritual on KCSB Island that I find very therapeutic. Every full moon I cover myself in ocean algae from head to toe, play this song, and dance like buffcorrell.