desert island discs: jenn manzetti

Welcome to another edition of Desert Island Discs! Today's tracks are from my friend Jenn, an all around awesome gal who took the past year to do what we all dream about - she quit her job and traveled to cities near and far visiting friends, going to shows, and having herself a darn good time. She's a huge music lover, and I'm obsessed with this list (many of these were ones I debated including in my own list)...

1) The Wind by Cat Stevens... I listen to the wind, to the wind of my soul. where I'll end up, well I think only God really knows." The first time I heard this song I was 11 and it instantly comforted me.  22 years later it still does.  Simple & powerful....the beauty of Cat Stevens.


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2) Nightswimming by R.E.M... When I hear the first few notes of this song, I become 16 again, sitting in a beat up car with my friends, driving nowhere in particular, soaking up the August days we had left before school started. I will never hear this song and not remember my lovely, misfit friends and our restless summers together.


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3) That's How Strong My Love Is by Otis Redding... I wouldn't consider myself a religious person, despite being raised Catholic. But music is sacred to me.  When I want to go to church, I listen to Otis. Side note: If someone ever felt the urge to write a song like this for or about me, I would be totally fine with it. 


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4) A Case Of You performed by James Blake... Two things about me: I love Joni Mitchell & cover songs.  However, I almost always dislike covers of Joni's songs.  Then I heard James Blake's version of this.  The original song is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful and heart-breaking ever written.  It's amazing, but this version is even more haunting.  Perfect for a cathartic cry and cheaper than therapy.


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5) Walkin' After Midnight by Patsy Cline... If I was to live out the rest of my days on a desert island, I'd want songs that I loved to listen to, but that were also sentimental to me. My grandmother, Nora, when she wasn't singing along to something, whistled. Constantly. More often than not, it was one of Patsy's songs that had her whistling. On my island, I would whistle to this and know that wherever Nora is now, she's joining in. 


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6) I've Got A Feeling by The Beatles... So I'm a total Beatlemaniac.  I love so many of their songs for various reasons, but most of my all-time favorites are Lennon-McCartney working in a perfect union.  This is a great example.  Mood instantly lifted!  


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7) Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen... As a Jersey girl, I had to have a Bruce song. Pretty sure I'd be kicked out of NJ and disowned by my family if I didn't. But seriously folks, this song never fails to get to me. Not to bring the room down, but when I was 19, I got sick and spent a lot of time in & out of hospitals.  My brother, Steve, was 13 then and trying to keep up his teenage, "this is no big deal" exterior, no matter the situation at home. Then I had a pretty lengthy hospital stay and when he visited, he brought me something: my old walkman & a mixtape he made me of all my favorite songs. This was the first song of side A. Basically, I well up with a mix of emotions every time I hear it.  Steve is a total pain in my *ss most of the time, but he's also one of the best people I know. Do not tell him I said that. I'll deny it.


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8) Ball and Biscuit by The White Stripes... Jack White is my cerebral crush and just perfection to me.  I could make a desert island playlist from his song catalog. The White Stripes were/are tops in my book (I've yet to come to terms with their break-up, but have high hopes of one day accepting it). This song is everything rock n' roll should be - a little ugly, a little sexy, all guitar and banging drums. 100% badass.


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Have Spotify and want to listen to the whole playlist (minus The Beatles because they're not on Spotify)? Click here.

(PS… remember that if you’re viewing this in a feed reader you’ll need to click over to the blog to see the Spotify tracks.)

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!)