Six Songs For A Desert Isle


Here’s audio I could listen to through eternity … or at least until a hawk swoops down and pecks my eardrums out.

(6) “Losing My Religion by R.E.M.

Don’t tell me what it means! Don’t even tell me they broke up! Just tell me I can have this on constant rotation!

Its propulsive guitars and angsty vocals always fill me with a rush of simultaneous shame and empowerment. Consider this: I love this song. Whatever it means!

(5) “Oh Me, Oh My” by Lulu

Lulu is my favorite white R&B singer of the ’60s, and much as I worship her classic bit of mentor appreciation, “To Sir, With Love,” I really favor this under-touted gem of love — a legato torcher in which she starts out sultry (“To make you laugh, I’ll play the fool for you …”), then rocks out with crazed love mania (“Oh me, oh my, I’m a fool for you, baby”), going back and forth between those modes with stylistic aplomb.

It was too schizo to be a hit on any chart except my own one for the desert isle. Give it to me!

(4) “Young Americans” by David Bowie

Again, I have no idea what the fuck it means except that it’s a scathing indictment of just about everything, but Bowie’s slinky vocals backed by screaming saxes and Luther Vandross on backup make for a long and winding story song with swoops and surprises. This was an exciting musical turn for Bowie to take, and it certainly paid off; I want to hear it till I die.

(3) “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette

Some righteous anger is needed for a desert-isle catharsis, so this where-are-my-meds rant should probably be medleyed with Twisted Sister’s “We Ain’t Gonna Take It” as a palate cleanser before one goes back to one’s Debbie Boone.

(2) “Son of a Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield

So raw and sultry I always wondered how they allowed this thing on the radio. I was thrilled, mind you. It always filled me with a hormonal surge — and Dusty’s whiskey-soaked vocals are a cure for all ills. I never paid attention during sex education. I’d already learned everything from Dusty and Billy Joe.

(1) “He Touched Me” by Barbra Streisand

Babs’s rendition of this otherwise obscure Broadway show tune is so creamy, dramatic, and intimate, I find it the most romantic thing ever recorded. I love the bit about how “He’s real and the world is alive and shining …” She makes you see him, believe him, and even feel him. With her full-throttle emotion and immediacy, La Streisand convinces you that a casual brush of the hand was bigger than WWII.

There’s no way I’m heading to any island alone without those six songs! Try and stop me!

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