National Album Day | Speakers Corner Does Desert Island Discs

12 October 2018

What’s your favourite album of all time? It’s a hard one, right? An album is like a story. And the great ones can take you on a journey, transport you to different world or open your eyes to new thoughts and ideas. They play out as the soundtrack to our lives and have the unique ability to conjure memories and wrap you in nostalgia. A favourite album can be a truly personal thing.

For this year’s National Album Day we want to celebrate everything we love about the good old LP and so we’ve played our own little version of Desert Island Discs with the office!

Long-serving logistics member, Helena has picked a classic;

I’m going for Aladdin Sane by the one and only David Bowie - the first album I ever bought (in 1973) with very hard-earned money from my Saturday job. Of course, my parents were scandalised by the front cover - Bowie was a controversial figure and the oldies couldn’t appreciate the image he portrayed - “look at the state of him” were words I often heard at home.

I absolutely loved the music - so varied and challenging - particularly in the track ‘Time’. So many classic songs and perhaps my enduring favourite is ‘Lady Grinning Soul’ which has amazing lyrics and sound and still makes my spine tingle whenever I hear it.

I continued to be a big Bowie fan and added several more of his albums to my collection. All those LPs have travelled through my life with me and are still neatly stashed away in a cupboard at home. I keep saying I must buy a portable turntable so that I can listen to them all again as there is nothing quite like putting a real record on!

Newest member of the marketing team, Holly has opted for something a little more modern;

I’m going to choose Rihanna – Rated R. It’s when the fresh-faced, Island-girl image shapeshifts over to the dark side. In this case, the dark side is full female autonomy. She speaks directly to taboo subjects – queer relationships, suicide and female pleasure – offering big beats and guitars alongside stripped-back ballads with minimal production. I am 21 – the same age Rihanna was when Rated R was released. Maybe this album for me represents a period of transition and an approach to womanhood that upsets the received notion of having to get yourself together.

Finance team member,  Moe  chose an album which also follows the theme of transformation;

I really loved Jay Z’s 4:44, as it portrayed a more conscious-minded Jay. He seemed to have a message of empowerment and self-reliance that you don’t get with other hip-hop albums.

It’s also one of his most introspective work, where he goes deep into his own personal issues to the point of killing his ego. He discusses issues like smart financial investments on ‘The Story of OJ’ to his mother’s hidden sexuality on ‘Smile’, and his rumored infidelity on ‘4:44’ (the single).

For me, 4:44 is a story of transformation where Jay leaves behind the bravado and becomes Shawn Carter - adult, husband, businessman.

Logistics-whizz, Roma has thrown out the rule book and gone for a ‘best of’, but let’s hear her out;

ABBA: Gold – Greatest Hits 1992. Timeless songs that are catchy and capture a range of emotion. To this day an ABBA song is instantly recognisable to the wider population – they made their own sound and are deservedly canonised.

Okay, we’ll let you off Roma. But only because it’s ABBA!

Head of Marketing,  Rob  gives us his take;

The greatest albums are timeless. Classics such as 'What's the Story Morning Glory', 'Original Pirate Material' and 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' will inspire kids for generations to come. But, for me, I go back to November 2005 when one song made me stop in my tracks, and when it finished I went out to buy the album.

Silent Alarm by Bloc Party, with tracks such as ‘Like Eating Glass’, ‘Banquet’ and ‘She's Hearing Voices’, deliver an incredible burst of energy and passion, before ‘So Here We Are’ provides the introspective, melancholic antidote.

Naturally, I fell into a trance like state when I saw them play the main stage at Reading 2008 and I still can’t quite believe I got to see them live at their peak.

A faultless choice, Rob.

Sticking with the marketing team, here’s Matt’s top pick;

This is an evil question – how can I pick just one? My initial thought would be Arctic Monkey’s first album which is the soundtrack to my angsty teenage years (I know, how cliché). One of the first albums I ever bought and since been to see the band live for every tour of each new album they’ve released.

But (a big but) on reflection I have to say that my favourite album of all time is Johnny Cash Live At Folsom Prison. I love the music and lyrics to pretty much everything on the album. I love the attitude, the rawness, and the crowd’s energy captured in the live recording. And not only was it a ground-breaking record at the time, but it also means something personal to me and takes me back to a great time in my life.

Finally, we asked Account Manager, Emilie to tell us her favourite record;

This was a very tough decision. After a long think, I’ve decided that if I were to be stranded on a desert island, the album I’d bring with me is Based on a True Story by Fat Freddy’s Drop. I love the fun hybrid of jazzy/reggae tones and the soulful vocals. Most of all, I love it because it reminds me of my early days at Uni when the only major worry was the question of what I was eating for dinner that night. I listened to this album non-stop that year and it was probably one of the best years of my life.

The simple question of ‘what is your favourite album’ seems to go well beyond a person’s taste in music, revealing their treasured memories and the issues which are most important them. We may be getting a little deep here, but we also had a lot of fun chatting with each other in the office about all the great albums which mean something to us.

It’s National Album Day, so ask around your friends and colleagues, find out their favourite record, then don’t forget to tweet and let us know!

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