Desert Island Discs: Episode Three, featuring our Legal Solutions Adviser Tamsin Naylor:
When Lifetime first asked me to list my Desert Island Discs, I didn’t quite feel up to the challenge. I didn’t understand how anyone could narrow down their favourite or most meaningful music to just eight tracks! Anyone who knows me knows that I won’t walk without my iPod and I won’t sit, or stay under a roof without my radio. Music is a big part of my life, whether it’s influencing me, encouraging me, motivating me, making me want to dance (which happens a lot) or simply mirroring my mood, I’m never without lyrics circling around my head or riffs stuck on repeat.
Most people seem to choose their eight tracks according to significant moments in their life, or memorable experiences. I haven’t done this, as being a single, 25-year-old, the biggest memories in my life are losing loved ones or ending a long-term relationship. They’re not memories I want to take to a desert island! So instead, I’ve taken a different approach. I always joke with my friends that I have my own soundtrack to every day, (this could trigger great teasing, but…) I even have my own compilation CD which is aptly titled: “Totally Tamsin”. The eight tracks I’ve chosen are on this CD and they’re all songs which I never skip, because they’re ‘totally’ me and if they were to be my desert island discs, at least the music would help me to stay sane and true to myself, above all else.
Disc One: Only Hope – Mandy Moore
If anyone were to ask me my favourite song, I would say it were this, without hesitation. Although most people tend to argue that original recordings are best, this version is a cover. It was recorded for the movie adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ novel, ‘A Walk to Remember’, (both one of my favourite movies and one of my favourite novels, written by my favourite author). The movie also featured the original track as written and recorded by the band ‘Switchfoot’. I am a huge fan of the original, but I relate more to a female voice and for me, Mandy’s sweetness and softer tone suits both the lyrics and the melody of the song perfectly. The song suits my mood whether I’m feeling sad or ecstatic. For me, the lyrics are filled with hope and inspirational ideas, a musical celebration of life, love, faith and trust and a melodic reminder that there’s always hope.
Disc Two: Someday We’ll Know – New Radicals
For me, the lyrics of this song follow the same theme as the previous track. They’re filled with hope and the sweet melody only emphasises the fairy-tale theme of the song. The New Radicals are famously a one-hit-wonder band, though this track was due to be their second single following the success of their first, before the band announced its break-up. The track was written by the New Radicals frontman, Gregg Alexander, my favourite lyricist. Whilst I’m not a huge fan of all of Gregg’s writings that in itself, to me, is what makes him such a great artist. I can’t always relate to his lyrics, but more often than not he expresses himself more poetically than anyone else of his time and didn’t fear creating controversy with only lyrics alone. Although this particular track fills me with hope, he’s stated that he wrote it about the regrets in his life. His music can be interpreted in a hundred different ways, as with any good literature. He’s actually written some hugely popular hits for other artists, such as Ronan Keating: ‘Life is a Rollercoaster’ and more recently, the Oscar nominated ‘Lost Stars’, which was featured in the movie ‘Begin Again’. Gregg often challenges society, politics and conservatism. This track is one of his rarer tunes, focusing primarily on love and the meaning of life. Again, this track has been covered by Mandy Moore, a duet with Jonathan Foreman for the same ‘A Walk to Remember’ movie. I again prefer Mandy’s cover version of this song to the original, but my desert island discs wouldn’t be complete without Gregg Alexander, who, in high praise, is my 1990s answer to Jim Morrison of The Doors.
Disc Three: Problem Girl – Rob Thomas
More so than the specific track I’ve listed, Rob Thomas could have featured on all eight of my desert island discs. I could listen to his voice every minute of every day. Again, Rob Thomas is one of my favourite lyricists, penning most of Matchbox Twenty’s hits, which have stemmed over five successful albums and his own two solo albums. His voice is most familiar to people featuring on Santana’s 90s’ hit, ‘Smooth’. Rob Thomas has been one of my favourite musical artists, if not my favourite artist, since I can ever remember really loving music, when I really began to know what I really enjoyed, after my Meatloaf/Queen/Blondie/Kylie loving days – encouraged by my mum! This specific track picks me up after a bad day, the lyrics remind me that everyone has times when they feel let down by the people they’ve loved and trusted, but the upbeat tempo helps me to shake it off and sing along at the top of my voice, as I do with every track I think I know the lyrics to! This specific track encourages me to keep my chin up and keep on trying hard in everything I do. It reminds me that I won’t always succeed, but I can always try to and the fact that I try, doesn’t make me a problem to the world, it just makes me Tamsin.
Disc Four: Better Days – The Goo Goo Dolls
I knew The Goo Goo Dolls needed to be one of my desert island discs, but trying to cut their collection down to one track is near impossible to me. They have written and recorded some amazing tracks in their lengthy career. I was lucky enough to see them perform back in 2008 with two of my best friends, although they’ve recently toured America with Matchbox Twenty, which I could’ve only dreamed for a ticket to attend! Whenever anyone asks me my favourite bands/artists, I always say I have four, in this order: Matchbox Twenty, The Goo Goo Dolls, The Calling, then Train. Instantly, everybody recognises The Goo Goo Dolls and picks them out of the mix for their track: ‘Iris’, which is one of my lowest-rated Goo Goo Dolls songs ever recorded. The Goo Goo Dolls have a passion for music which explodes on the stage. They have life experience which they put to chords and drumbeats, to tell stories. For me, ‘Iris’ is one of their laziest recordings, picked up by the film industry and is thus recognised for the few powerful lyrics it delivers. I’d recommend that anybody who enjoys ‘Iris’ listen to The Goo Goo Dolls lesser known hits and fall in love with the band all over again. ‘Become’, ‘Let Love In’, ‘Slide’, ‘Sympathy’, ‘Black Balloon’, ‘Broadway’, ‘Big Machine’ and ‘Name’, all almost made it onto my desert island discs. I chose ‘Better Days’, which again is a song primarily filled with hope, faith and a love for life and the future it promises to surprise us with.
Disc Five: Wherever You Will Go – The Calling
One of my favourite memories of my grandma and grandad comes to me every time I hear this song. I remember, as a child, being thrilled every time my grandad let me watch his over-sized television, with his thousands of channels, compared to the basic four or five myself and Michael grew up with. He’d give me the remote and tell me he’d watch whatever I wanted. Between episodes of Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Saved by the Bell, he’d then end up watching the music channels with me. I can remember sitting in a quarter of one of his reclining, Shackleton chairs, whilst my sister dusted his living room, watching the music video to The Calling’s Wherever You Will Go and then changing the channel and watching it again, and then changing the channel, and watching it again. I loved the song. I loved the lyrics. I loved the band and I simply adored the deepness of Alex Band’s vocals. I still love all of these things. This song is a perfect recording to me and it’s a song I would hate to be without. It reminds me of easy, peaceful days, when the idea of a love as pure as this song suggests, felt like it was only a Disney film away.
Disc Six: I’ll Be – Edwin McCain
So far, all of my Desert Island Discs have followed the same theme/style of music. They’re all hopeful, peaceful tracks filled with passion and quite soothing, soft rock harmonies. I’d been advised by some Lifetimers that my discs should be varied, to show my love of all different types of music, but as I’ve said before, ‘they’re all songs which I never skip’, either on CD or my iPod and they just happen to be of a similar style of music to each other, even though my actual discography ranges from hip-hop to country, heavy metal to bubble pop, 1960s to current chart music. This song is no exception to the pattern of the previous discs. Edwin McCain’s recorded a few different versions of this song and I certainly have my favourite, which I consider as such simply because of its calm, yet uplifting vibe. A lot of song writers enjoy writing music they know their fans will appreciate/be able to relate to and I think that’s what Edwin McCain did with this song. I think every girl would want to be told, or like to think, that they have a ‘greatest fan of’ their life and the way Edwin sings it, makes it a believable fantasy.
Disc Seven: Bruises – Train and Ashley Monroe
Train had to feature on my Desert Island Discs. They have written and recorded so many of my favourite tracks, such as: ‘Drops of Jupiter’, ‘This’ll Be My Year’, ‘Hey Soul Sister’, ‘I Got You’, ‘Parachute’, ‘If It’s Love’ and ‘This Ain’t Goodbye’. It was hard to single just one track out, but ‘Bruises’ is a track which picks me up on a bad day. I’ll literally listen to it on repeat 40 times in a row to make me feel better and to remind me that ‘we all got bruises’. The song has a call and response conversational tone which adopts a ‘when life throws you a lemon, make lemonade’ attitude. I love the way Pat Monahan and Ashley Monroe’s voices complement each other and I enjoy mimicking Ashley’s southern drawl, at the top of my lungs. This is definitely one of my main soundtrack songs. I constantly have the tune, the lyrics and the attitude playing in my head. If you ever see me bopping through the office humming to myself, 99% of the time, it will be to this song!
Disc Eight: Undermine – Hayden Panettiere (as Juliette Barnes in Nashville)
I really struggled to pick an eighth Desert Island Disc. It’s just too hard to narrow down all of my favourite music to only eight tracks! I felt happy with my first seven choices, they were very obvious to me, but I wanted my eighth to be a wild card track. As I’ve been thinking of my reasons for choosing the track I’ve chosen, I’ve changed my mind about nine times, no ten now! I couldn’t decide between having an old school song full of memories, such as The Four Seasons, ‘Oh What a Night’, a Eurovision song to remind me of my yearly ritual and obsession with wanting to see every city in Europe, such as Robin Stjernberg’s ‘You’, a girl power anthem, such as No Doubt’s ‘Just a Girl’ or anything by Beyoncé, a fun, happy track, such as Paul Simon’s ‘You Can Call Me Al’, an 80s rock and roll style song such as Pat Benatar’s ‘Love is a Battlefield’, or Meatloaf’s ‘I Would Do Anything for Love’, a song which brings back memories, such as Matt Redman’s ‘Dancing Generation’, or even a karaoke classic such as Counting Crows’ ‘Mr Jones’ or the Spin Doctor’s ‘Two Princes’. I just can’t pick. The track I’ve settled for is actually a song which was recorded for the TV show Nashville. Nashville is the TV show I most enjoy watching as it basically follows country music stars and rising stars, in a fictional Nashville, whilst they create their own music through all of the highs and lows which can fill a 40 minute musical drama. Whilst my previous seven desert island discs all seem to be slightly pop/rock or soft/rock, my actual favourite genre of music is modern country music. I’m a huge fan of Zac Brown Band, Thompson Square, Lady Antebellum, Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, Jason Aldean, Easton Corbin, Eric Church, Luke Bryan… If you can’t tell, I’m a massive fan of the lyrics of a song, over anything else. Country music is all about putting lyrics to music. Most country music tells stories, from start to finish, such as Taylor Swift’s ‘Love Story’, but some simply analyse situations and teach morals, whilst giving memoirs. The Juliette Barnes’ song ‘Undermine’ does just this. I love the honesty and the hurt in the song and though it’s quite an angry song, it’s easy to relate to and easy to feel the power of the lyrics and become the bigger person. The TV show Nashville has produced some of my favourite modern country music songs on a whole, such as ‘It Ain’t Yours to Throw Away’, ‘Hypnotise’ and ‘Love Like Mine’. I singled out my desert island disc eight because of the lyrics as a whole, which fit more with my life than any other song. I especially relate to the line: ‘And it’s a whole lot harder to shine, than undermine’, a moral I strongly believe in proving right.
Choice of book: Love Story, by Erich Segal.
My desert island novel would have to be ‘Love Story’. Surprisingly, this isn’t written by Nicholas Sparks, but is a novel by Erich Segal, although the entire plot feels like a shortened Sparks’ novel. Both ‘Love Story’ and a typical Sparks’ novel tell romantic tales of boy meets girl, with fun and laughter along the way, ending in tragedy, but always with a recognition of real love. Both explore family life and conflicts caused by social class divisions.
I chose ‘Love Story’, as I stumbled across this novel in my teens when looking for a shorter novel to read one evening. It became an instant favourite. I’m forever starting to read novels and getting distracted, having to leave a book half read for sometimes near months, but ‘Love Story’ is always a reliable choice in that I can finish it in one sitting.
It’s a sweet story, which is easy to read even if the mind’s preoccupied. Although it is a tragic story, it’s told in such a simple way that it even seems to have a joyous ending, making it feel more like a fable, aiming to teach you the moral: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry…” You’ll understand, if you read/have ever read the book.
My luxury item …..
My luxury item is the category which I struggled most with. I’m assuming I wouldn’t be allowed to take a family member, or a pet and so if my favourite two options are disallowed, I think I’d be inclined to agree with Robert Briggs’ choice on the last Lifetime desert island discs – a wind up radio. Although unlike Bob, I wouldn’t necessarily wish to keep up with the world’s affairs, a wind up radio would allow me to keep up with the world’s music. I’m always listening to the charts and the ‘up-and-coming’ music radio shows and so with a wind up radio by my side, I might not even realise I’m stuck on a desert island!
If I were to be original though, I would definitely want to see my bed on a desert island! I love my home comforts, although I can and do drop to sleep anywhere and everywhere if I sit/lay too still and quiet for more than a minute. A bed’s not entirely essential for me – last week alone I fell asleep in the cinema, at a friend’s house sat upright watching TV and on public transport…
So perhaps merely a duvet or a pillow would do and even they’re not essential… Maybe a toothbrush might be a wiser choice? Oooh…..decisions, decisions…..perhaps I should sleep on it……where’s the duvet/pillow……?!!