Confusious say “Music is pleasure, brain cannot live without.” I think that’s true.
Growing up, I was interested in music from a very early age. In high school, I played the banjo. My senior year, I started to dabble around on the guitar. But, more so, I’m mainly a percussionist… a drummer. Here was my first drumming lesson… pretty young, I’d say!
Anyway, before starting this blog, I’m going to make the first topic about music. It’s ones of those things that is subjective. People tend to gravitate towards those songs and music they have grew up listening to, or have great memories experienced during listening to certain songs. This school assignment, for my Exploring Japanese Popular Music, concerns my Desert Island Disks list. I never really thought about it too much. This was actually the first time I heard of this term.
At first, I just listed down all my most liked and most listened to albums. When I was done, I had about 35 listed. So, I had to think about them further, and I finally narrowed it down to 10.
1) Tool – Lateralus
I first came to know of Tool in 2004, through their album Undertow. I immediately fell in love with this band. I liked about half the album. Same with Aenima, and even Opiate. Lateralus was the first Tool album where I enjoyed every track and could listen to the entire album multiple times. Also, Danny Carey is one sick drummer. Too bad I have to wait 4-to-5 years before they release a new album.
2) Caravan Palace – Panic
Caravan Palace is a French Electric Swing band. A pretty weird combination, right? But, it’s addictive. I first came on to these guys after hearing their song, “Crash”. I must of listened to the same one song all day long. Upon finding out more about this band, I grew to really like them. My favorite song they have preformed is actually, “Lone Digger.” However, “Panic” is my favorite overall album, despite not having “Long Digger” on it. Note: this band also follows the cliche trope of an all male band and a lone female lead vocals.
3)John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
This album, when it first came out, long before I was even born, was a masterpiece. Today, this album is a great inspiration source. Each and every song on this album seems to musically illustrate a different mood or emotion: Love, Sorrow, Anger, Joy, etc. I’ve turned this album on, and hit a random song whenever I need a good source of inspiration.
4) Dead by April – Dead by April
This screaming, hard rock, Polish band is here cause it’s attached to a special memory. Back in my World of Warcraft days, I would always played this album whenever I was running my battlegrounds. (Which was about 80% of my playing time). Needless to say, I don’t really play anymore, but this album will always hold those fun memories. Horde for Life!
5) Black Eyed Peas – Elephunk
This is a great album from modern times, probably their best album… by a long shot. I never really liked any of their other albums, but Elephunk seems to have a lot of great songs that I naturally liked: Let’s Get Retarded, The Apl Song, Where’s the love?, Anxiety. It is one of the very few albums produced fairly new, that has more than one or two decent songs. I don’t like they will make another album as great as this one.
6) The Roots – Phrenology
Growing up in Philadelphia, I heard these guys all the time. At first, it was the song, “The Seed 2.0.” I was one of my favorite songs in High School. After a couple months, I finally decided to find out who sang it, and it was, the Roots; and the song came from this album. I like almost all of their music, but this was the album that started it all.
7) Masaharu Iwata, Hitoshi Sakimoto, Yukiko Mitsui, and Yuko Miura – Final Fantasy Tactics Soundtrack
Ah, the best final fantasy game ever made… that no one has ever played. This was an amazing game, and it has an unforgettable soundtrack to go with it. I must of played this game so many times, that I know the melodies of almost every single song on this album.
8) Yoshida Brothers – Tsugaru Shamisen
This pair of brothers are amazing shamisen players. They managed to incorporate styles of rock, blues, and funk into the traditional Japanese style. For me, many of their songs are hit or miss. However, this is their “greatest hits album”. All of their hits are on this one album, so it’s the only one I really listen to. For those who live in Japan, if you ever heard of Shamisen background music on prime-time TV shows, I’ll bet you money that it came from this album.
9) Blockhead – Music by Cavelight
Tony Simon, also known as Blockhead, is and underground DJ in the New York area. I first came across Blockhead from listening to Aesop Rock, another New Yorker that’s an amazing rapper. Tony does all of the beats for Aesop Rock. Every now and then, Tony puts out his own, instrumental albums. Music by Cavelight has so many beats and melodies, and overall, great songs, including my favorite off of this album, “Insomniac Olympics.”
10) Blue Man Group – The Complex
This one may seem a little off, compared to the rest of this list. Most of my grooves that I have developed were inspired by the songs off of this album. I may not listen to this a lot, but this album continues to be an inspiration for me when trying to develop new grooves and/or chops.
So, those are my top 10 musical albums that I need to have in order to survive. making this list got me thinking about my favorite song. For me, there’s none other than…
George Harrison’s, “While my Guitar Gently Weeps”
I didn’t really like the Beatles, and I don’t like most of their music. I wish I could hear their early days, from Hamburg, Germany. But, there are a couple. I really started to enjoy George’s. This song is amazing, and hits on so many different levels. I absolutely love the performance Harrison and Clapton did together on this song. Now, I can’t really sit and listen to this one song all day, but when this song does play, it becomes the best song played all day.
If I have a favorite English song, then I should also have a favorite Japanese song; hence me living in Japan. Narrowing down all the Japanese music I listen to, this song comes from more of a utility purpose.
Fukuyama Masaharu – Red x Blue
When I started taking Japanese classes, one of the requirements was doing karaoke songs. My teacher assigned me this song. Eventually, this became my go-to karaoke song whenever I’m on a date. And, it has yet to let me down. It’s also a fairly fun song to sign along to.