Mikey J’s ‘Desert Island Album’

GROWING up on an island which is mostly desert, I have a massive range of albums that I could choose from to take with me to a smaller desert island to keep me sane! But being an absolute Beatles ‘nuffy’ there’s one that I think would make for perfect accompaniment — 1968’s The Beatles, affectionately known as the White Album.

Why the White Album over some other Beatles classics like Abbey Road, Let It Be, Rubber Soul or Sgt. Peppers?

Mainly because it is both a double album, so you can listen for hours, and because I also classify it less as a ‘Beatles Album’ and more of a compilation of Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starkey solo tracks — so it is diverse in style to never get boring!

McCartney provides a rocking start that will take your mind off the heat of a desert island — ‘Back in the USSR.’ It’s a track that is a lot of fun and always picks me up from the first twang of the electric lead line. I like that this was also an attempt to counter the Beach Boys with its lyrics, a nice tip of the hat to another fine band, showing that even the greatest song writers take inspiration from their peers.

‘Dear Prudence’ is a track that allows you to reflect on those in your life that mean something to you. It’s a beautiful descending guitar line from Lennon, that leads into another rocking track ‘Glass Onion.’ Lennon has a way with words that often don’t make literal sense, but really get you into the song. ‘Happiness is a Warm Gun’ is another example of this lyrical prowess.

The White Album is one of the few Beatles Albums that does actually have songs I don’t particularly like: ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,’ ‘Wild Honey Pie’ and ‘Revolution #9’ being the three here. But I think that this is also good for a desert island. Alone, maybe going a little crazy, these tracks allow you to descend into that madness a little!

It is, though, Harrison (with a little help from Clapton) that provides the absolute highlight on Side 1 with ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps.’ This is in my top two Beatles tracks of all time (the other is ‘Something,’ you might get that I’ve got a bit of man-crush on George!) The rest of Side 1 is an eclectic mix of story-telling tracks that really showcase the Fab Four’s talent: ‘Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill,’ ‘Blackbird,’ ‘Piggies’ and my favourite busking song: ‘Rocky Raccoon.’

Side 2 showcases a slightly different side of the Beatles, that perhaps mirrored the change in their perception of the world. It’s probably a little rockier than side 1, with ‘Birthday,’ ‘Yer Blues,’ ‘Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me’ and ‘My Monkey,’ ‘Helter Skelter’ and ‘Revolution 1’ providing a bit of grunt and dirt for when you’re feeling a little frustrated.

‘Revolution’ in particular showing Lennon’s increasingly political views. Perhaps my favourite on this side, however, is ‘Sexy Sadie:’ a dig at the Maharishi’s dodgy sexual exploits and a track that has inspired me to write the ‘f*ck you, you’re a knob’ kind of call-out tracks.

There’s enough on this album to keep you entertained for days; a variety of styles, genres and the nonsensical that will keep you entertained and not needing to make friends with your volleyball.

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