Desert Island CDs Blogathon

There's this desert island, see? And I'm stuck on it.

Great ideas come in pairs. So as a companion piece to Andy the Fandango Groover’s hugely popular Desert Island DVDs blogathon in April 2010, here is the Desert Island CDs blog event. The predicament is only slightly different this time: If you were stuck on a desert island and could listen to only 12 songs — all from movie soundtracks — which 12 tracks would you pick?

Below are the 12 soundtrack tunes I’d gladly listen to until I rallied the tiger blood within and swam after a passing boat, or angry seagulls pooped on my head until I went stark raving mad … for the definitive list of soundtrack selections, click the graphic above.

1. “Jai Ho” by A.R. Rahman (“Slumdog Millionaire” soundtrack) – Rahman’s “Jai Ho” may be the most infectious and joyous original composition ever to grace a film soundtrack. A little improvised Bollywood dancing — or an exuberantly bad impression — would be an excellent cure for the desert island blues.

2. “Dracula’s Lament” by Jason Segel (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” soundtrack) — Puppet Dracula knows loneliness. He is an island. I’m stuck on a desert island. You do the math.

3. “Flowers on the Wall” by The Statler Brothers (“Pulp Fiction” soundtrack) — Nothing invites dwelling on past heartbreak like solitude, and The Statler Brothers gave the world perhaps the smartest, funniest song about coping with the minutiae of daily life after a breakup.

4. “Lift Me Up” by Bruce Springsteen (“Limbo” soundtrack) – Go through Bruce Springsteen’s entire catalogue — go on, I’ll wait; I have nothing to do but soak up UV rays in this hellhole — and you won’t find a more heart-wrenching, life-affirming and haunting love song than “Lift Me Up.”

5. “The What” by The Notorious B.I.G. feat. Method Man (“The Wackness” soundtrack) – Life dealing crack in the alleys of Bed-Stuy is hard. So is a life sentence of sand in places that don’t need exfoliating and daily sunburn. That kind of hard, mean reality demands a daily dose of F.T.W. attitude.

6. “I’ll Fly Away” by Gillian Welch (“O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack) — Remember how Emily Dickinson said hope is the thing with feathers? Sometimes a desert island dweller doesn’t need attitude but hope. Nobody doles out gospel-tinged, Old-Time-Religion hope like Gillian Welch.

7. “Lover” by Devendra Banhart (“Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” soundtrack) — Sometimes a sweeping love song won’t get the job done. That’s when a little playfulness (and a lot of sexual innuendo) come in mighty handy, and Barnhart’s “Lover” has both in spades.

8. “Wise Up” by Aimee Man (“Magnolia” soundtrack) — Chances are, if you’re stuck on a desert island, it’s because you made one fool choice or another. Aimee Mann’s nasal warbling and her poignant lyrics from “Magnolia” will remind you not to make the same mistake twice.

9. “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd (“The Departed” soundtrack) – Comfortable numbness, as a state of being and as a way of handling (or avoiding) the world, is highly underrated. Roger Waters and David Gilmour get that, and they communicate it beautifully here.

10. “The Book I Write” by Spoon (“Stranger Than Fiction” soundtrack) – Fatalism is the enemy of survival in a desert island stranding situation. “The Book I Write” should provide just enough make-your-own-luck energy to see me through the darkest moments.

11. “Long Cool Woman (in a Black Dress)” by The Hollies (“Remember the Titans” soundtrack) – Although I wasn’t alive in 1972, The Hollie’s criminally cool “Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress)” makes me feel like I was. It’s as if these guys condensed the ’70s into 3 minutes and 2 seconds of awesomeness.

12. “Here I Come” by The Roots feat. Malik B. and Dice Raw (“Superbad” soundtrack) — I’m convinced that if I listen to this song long and hard enough, I’ll sprout a superhero cape, spontaneously develop the ability to fly and catapult myself off this damn island without getting one hair out of place.

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15 Responses

  1. [...] M. Carter from M. Carter at the Movies [...]

  2. Love how you have songs for certain specific occasions like I did. Great minds think alike they say ahah ;) Sweet Desert Island CD Meredith!

  3. alot of great thought and effort for a well-orchestrated cd! Nice work. Like how it starts with Jai Ho

  4. Aimee and Floyd back-to-back??!! Any chance I can convince you to paddle over to my island and bring your mix with you?

  5. Comfortably numb just reminds of Uni. Sitting in my room in the halls of residence and chillin, trying to decide which film to watch next. That is what I call a happy dilemma.

  6. I can’t believe you put the puppet song from Forgetting Sarah Marshall…that’s so awesome!!! I love your mix. The Nick and Norah soundtrack was a good one. Everything was perfect in Superbad and The Roots are very cool. Great mix.

  7. Dracula’s Lament… i saw that for first time the other week and almost wet myself laughing, good choice

    • @ Castor — Thanks! I loved this post — a lot of fun, but hard to narrow it down to 12.

      @ scarlet — Starting every day listening to “Jai Ho” is the way to go I think.

      @ Mad Hatter — Did you remember to bring rum to your island? I’m there.

      @ Colleeng + Ross McG — What can I say? I love me some Jason Segel puppet musical numbers.

  8. I actually considered a track from Magnolia, love that film and Aimee Mann’s soundtrack.

    That was such a cool version of Comfortably Numb from the Departed, I remember thinking it was the best track on that particular soundtrack.

    Don’t forget to stop by my desert island choices ( :

  9. What bit in Pulp Fiction is that song Flowers on the wall in?

    • @ Chris — “Wise Up” just rips up my heart every time I hear it. I could listen to it every day for the rest of my life. That goes double for “Comfortably Numb.”

      @ Ronan — Bruce Willis is listening to it in the car right before he runs over Marsellus Wallace. You only hear a few seconds of it.

      • Trivia! Willis kind of sings a line from the song in what was next next film after Pulp: Die Hard With a Vengeance. Always thought that was a cool nod – hell, the guy probably had to learn the song by heart, so you know it was an ad lib.

        Mmmm…Spoon – they owned that Stranger Than Fiction soundtrack. Reminds me, how could I leave my beloved DeVotchKa off my list (they owned the Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack). I want “How It Ends” on my list…

      • Good one, Fletch — I loved the “Sunshine” soundtrack as well. And I haven’t seen “Die Hard with a Vengeance” in ages, so I forgot about the shoutout to “Flowers on the Wall” there.

  10. So your stranded on a Lost style island a choose 3 stars youd like to have with you b only one movie soundtrack you can listen too c only one movie you can watch..forever…on an endless loop! Colin Farrell totally lazy and sumone to rub lotion on you Orlando Bloom hes so pretty and i suspect would be good at gathering coconuts! Johnny Depp coz apparently hes good at escaping from desert islands! Pulp Fiction soundtrack Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind neva gets borin …… Film Soundtrack Bound to be a bit embarrasing for Joaq but id have to say the Walk the Line soundtrack at the moment if he protests ill have to be a 90s chick and say Trainspotting.

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