DesertIslandDiscs_katbonorchis In honor of her upcoming birthday, this month's Desert Island Discs are brought to you by my beautiful sister, Kathryn. Kathryn and I were latch-key kids and instead of doing our homework when we got home from school, we immediately threw on MTV's Top 20 Countdown, chowed down on frozen Ssips, and watched our favorite hair bands duke it out for #1. And while our tastes have digressed quite a bit since then, we'll always have Nikki Sixx playing the piano on "Home Sweet Home" and Slash's guitar solo on "November Rain." So without further adieu, here's her list...

Click here to listen to all the tracks!

1) Bad/40/Where the Streets Have No Name (live in Boston) by U2... I just could not decide between Bad or Where the Streets Have No Name. I love both. Solution? The live performance from Boston that includes both in one track. I have loved U2 for as long as I can remember, and their live performances are second to none.

2) Patience by Guns n Roses... I am pretty sure I have whistled along with Axl Rose (whom I intended to marry when I turned 16, during my lengthy love-of-guys-with-long-hair phase) over 100 times. I used to be notoriously IMpatient, and this song was a calming presence during some tumultuous childhood years.

3) Both Hands by Ani DiFranco... I remember exactly where I was and who I was with the first time I heard this song, and it was love at first listen. Who hasn’t been in a failing relationship but struggled to finally let go? “I am writing grafitti on your body / I am drawing the story of how hard we tried.”

4) All You Need is Love by The Beatles... So simple, so true, and so very appropriate for someone who wears her heart on her sleeve. I grew up listening to The Beatles with my dad and sister, and I have fond memories of being silly and singing their songs at the top of my lungs. If I’m going to be stuck on a desert island, I’ll need an uplifting and hopeful song that takes me back to happy kid moments. And at the end of the day, I really believe all we need is love. The rest can fall in line.

5) Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd... I could have easily chosen 8 Pink Floyd songs I can’t live without, but this particular song is in my Top 3 of all-time favorites. I could be in the worst mood ever and this song will make things better. “How I wish, how I wish you were here / We’re just two lost souls / Swimming in a fish bowl / Year after year / Running over the same old ground / What have we found? / The same old fears / Wish you were here”

6) Feeling Good by Nina Simone... Oh how I adore Nina Simone. Total girl crush. This song is soulful, sexy, and would be the theme song of my desert island experience. From the opening line of “birds flying high” to the climactic end, this song is flawless.

7) Fix You by Coldplay... As with Pink Floyd, I could have easily chosen 8 Coldplay songs I can’t live without. But I chose “Fix You” because it’s the kind of song you want during hard times. It helped me get through 2009. “When the tears come streaming down your face / When you lose something you can’t replace / When you love someone but it goes to waste / Could it be worse? / Lights will guide you home / And ignite your bones / And I will try to fix you.” We all love, lose, and pick ourselves back up again. For me, this song is equal parts “cry your eyes out” and “hang in there, it’ll be okay.”

8) Closer to Fine by the Indigo Girls... Because it’s fun. And it reminds me of college, which was the most fun, responsibility-free time in my adult life. I know this song by heart, pretend I can actually sing while singing it, and it puts a smile on my face whenever I hear it.

Thanks, Kat!! Happy Birthday! :)

turn it up: my desert island discs

Welcome to another new feature on the blog: Desert Island Discs! In the spirit of the long-running BBC program, I'll be asking my friends and fellow bloggers to send me the 8 tracks they couldn't live without. I thought I'd start things off by sharing my own...

1) Atlantic City by Bruce Springsteen... This might be my favorite song of all time. It's everything I want in a song and I'm never NOT in the mood to hear it. "Now our luck may have died and our love may be cold, but with you forever I'll stay." <---- Kills me. Every. Single. Time.

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2) Bring It On Home To Me by Sam Cooke... Is there a better Sam Cooke song than this? Not if you ask me. From the first notes of the piano my head is swaying and I get lost in Sam's soulful voice. His girl can do him all kinds of wrong and he still wants her back. We've all been there, Sam. (PS. Betty Harris has a shoulder for you...)

3) Cry to Me performed by Betty Harris... As far as I'm concerned, the female soul singer buck stops with Betty Harris. Excuse my language, but she sings the absolute shit out of this song. If I could sing one song well, this would be it. (I can't, for the record. But I sure do try.)

4) Don't Think Twice it's All Right (demo version) by Bob Dylan... There are about a million versions of this song, and I'm pretty sure I've heard them all. But this (THIS!) is the best version. I promise. It's so raw and simple and just perfect. "I ain’t sayin’ you treated me unkind / You could have done better but I don’t mind / You just kinda wasted my precious time / But don’t think twice, it’s all right." Perhaps the most poetic FU of all time.

5) Feelin' Good performed by Nina Simone... Please tell me I'm not the only one who spent many a morning in her 20s singing this in front of the bathroom mirror. It's the ultimate pick me upper, which might come in handy if I really was stuck on an island forever.

6) Let It Be by The Beatles... I prayed a lot when I was a wee lass, like a good Catholic school girl should, but found I didn't quite relate to God or Jesus, so I would ask them to "put Mary on" (ha!) and she and I would chat about stuff. So when I was old enough to understand the lyrics of this song I was like, "Mother Mary comes to me, too!" It became my anthem for coping with my parents' divorce, and it still makes me feel better when I find myself in times of trouble.

7) Swept Away by The Avett Brothers... Obviously.

8) Tonight Will Be Fine performed by Teddy Thompson... I love Leonard Cohen, but I have to be a bad music snob and admit that I like other people's versions of his songs better than I like the originals. No song is that more true for than this version of Tonight Will Be Fine. It's such a genius song, and Teddy Thompson covers it so beautifully. The last verse is probably the best verse in all of music and it gives me chills every time I hear it... "Sometimes I see her undressing for me / She's the soft naked lady love meant her to be / She's moving her body so brave and so free / If I've got to remember that's a fine memory."

(PS... The Spotify tracks don't show up in the RSS feed, so if you're viewing this in a feed reader click on the link so you can hear the tunes!)