If you had to go away for awhile and you could only take five of your favorite albums with you, which ones would you choose? Yes, we know it isn’t a fair question, but that hasn’t stopped us from asking music fans who happen to be recording artists in their own right. This week’s Desert Island Discs list comes courtesy of singer/songwriter Caleb Heineman, currently promoting his latest release, The Rose Colored Glass. The floor now belongs to Caleb.
Zenyatta Mondatta – The Police
Some prefer their first record for it’s rawness, others their last one for it’s commercial appeal, but when the Police made this album they had hit their stride. Sting and Stewart’s hard hitting grooves with Andy’s beautiful ethereal pads created such a unique sound. “Don’t Stand So Close To Me,” “Voices Inside My Head,” “When The World is Running Down”? The jams just keep coming. A few years down the horizon Sting would succumb to elevator music but at the time he had the cojones to sing lyrics like “I run deep throat again, it ran for years and years”, and “When the eloquence escapes me, the logic ties me up and rapes me”.
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Abbey Road – The Beatles
Like countless other people, I became a musician because of the Beatles. Everything I know, I learned from Paul. Sgt. Pepper is often cited as their masterpiece but if It’s me on this island I need to have Abbey Road. It starts off with a bang. “Come Together” is funky as hell. Just listen to the vamp that starts around 3:15. I cant imagine a hip hop artist that wouldn’t want to rhyme over that. “Something” and “Here Comes The Sun” are two of the most beautiful songs George Harrison ever wrote. Paul sings his ass off on “Oh Darling,” and then there’s the medley. This was their last album, and it was magic.
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Midnite Vultures – Beck
I love Beck’s whole catalog, but this one is my favorite. It’s a bit of a sleeper, it wasn’t a huge hit, but every song is great. It’s funky as all get out, and it seems like every three seconds Beck is spitting out some lyrical gem like “I’ll feed you fruit that don’t exist, I’ll leave graffiti where you’ve never been kissed”. The first time I heard “Debra” with its beautiful old school RnB horn arrangement and Beck’s Jaggeresque falsetto, I knew I would be listening to this for years to come.
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Alphabetical – Phoenix
Phoenix found mainstream success with 2009’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, but in ‘04 when I first heard Alphabetical, it blew me away. “Holdin’ On Together” and “Everything is Everything” are great RnB songs. “Love for Granted” and “Alphabetical” are beautiful ballads. The album has this great dry sound, as if you’re sitting in a completely dead soundproofed room with the band. The vocals are relaxed and understated, no one’s trying to sell you anything you don’t wanna buy. For me, this was a revelation; Someone was finally making music for me again.
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Give Up – The Postal Service
I got lost in this album and didn’t come up for air for 3 months. I just couldn’t listen to anything else. Normally, music takes me back to a memory that I associate with listening to it, but in this case, listening to the album is the memory. It took a few listens to get it’s hooks in me, but then it never let go. Inside the layers of percolating sine waves, looped guitar arpeggios and creative production lie some brilliantly crafted songs. “We Will Become Silhouettes,” “Recycled Air,” and “Brand New Colony” are some of the stand outs.
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Caleb Heineman creates beautiful pop songs with electronic touches now and then. His 2001 album Fear of Success is an overlooked pop masterpiece. After nearly a decade delay Caleb released The Rose Colored Glass in early 2010. You can buy it at Amazon or on iTunes and it’s well worth your $5.
I also have a copy of the new EP to give away. All you have to do is send an e-mail to me at dave at popdose dot com and let me know your five desert island discs. The first person to name one that I own (Caleb’s albums don’t qualify), wins the record. Simple right? And while you’re at it, check out his video below. Totally cool.
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