Gordon Smart's Top 10 Isolation Albums
12 April 2020, 12:00 | Updated: 29 April 2020, 12:23
Our man has a selection of albums to get you geared up for Radio X's big weekend of music.
It's a massive weekend for Radio X with the results of our Best Of British poll coming on Easter Monday.
What better reason to make the time pass quickly during this spell of isolation by getting your ears around some essential listening?
There is also a really important message to get across - we simply have to observe the government guidelines and stay at home to protect the NHS and frontline staff.
If you simply can’t be bothered doing that for yourself, listen in to our amazing line up this weekend. And because I’ve found myself without a voice, I’ve done some of the hard work for you.
The government asked if I would select ten albums to see us through the Easter Weekend. I thought, that should be no bother at all.
I then spent 72 hours up to my knees in vinyl and panic.
In the end, I had decided to go route one and protect you from Sunshine On Leith, the tinkering of Future Sound of London and some really weird stuff I bought from a character I met in the pub once.
I set myself some guidelines - one soundtrack, one compilation, three new-ish albums, two classics, my two most-listened to and something to soothe the nerves while we’re all on edge…
So, starting with the soundtrack… almost in the words of Gerry Cinnamon, here we flipping’ go.
Trainspotting - Original Soundtrack
The soundtrack can see you through so many situations in your house - from a kitchen rave (Underworld’s Born Slippy) to relaxation (Brian Eno’s Deep Blue Day) and a wee hint of irony to make us smile with Perfect Day by Lou Reed. Blur’s Sing has something eerie to match my feelings too. The perfect soundtrack. I just wish I could have squeezed the green album on too, but that would be cheating.
David Bowie - Nothing Has Changed: The Very Best of Bowie
I spent ages trying to choose a Bowie album then decided this was the best way to do it. I thought about Blackstar but we need more joy, and there’s plenty on here. If I had only been allowed to choose one song for this, it would have been Let’s Dance, the opening track. When you are feeling down, or stressed, this is THE compilation album to pull you out of a dark place. Finishing on side four with Where Are We Now? It will reduce you to rubble.
Billie Eilish - When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
The first of my three contemporary selections. I thought I better not be selfish - so living in a house with a wife and two kids, this is an album we have all fallen in love with. I’m completely mesmerised by Billie and the sound of this album. For someone so young to make something so special, is mind-blowing. I could listen to this on loop for a day and be content (she’s also Scottish somewhere down the line).
Sam Fender - Hypersonic Missiles
This is the best debut album for a long, long time. North Shields has produced a massive music talent. If you like Bruce Springsteen, you’ll love this man. So many great songs, with such important lyrics. Dead Boys, Play God, The Borders, Will We Talk? and the title track, Hypersonic Missiles, are perfect. The first album for a while that I listen to regularly all the way through without skipping.
Gerry Cinnamon - Erratic Cinematic
Only a few bands or artists in my lifetime have created a live experience that will live with me for the rest of my life - Oasis, Prodigy, Kasabian, Stone Roses - and Gerry. He’s a mysterious man, but his songs speak to me. His lyrics and everything he stands for pour out of this laconic record. It’s magic. If you’re not Scottish, doesn’t matter. Just sing these words at the top of your voice and you’ll be one of us. Diamonds in The Mud even made me nostalgic for Glasgow, and I’m from the other side of the country.
Primal Scream - Screamadelica
The first of my most listened to albums. I play this at least once a week. Andrew Weatherall who produced it, recently passed away. This album was propelled to Mercury Prize winning success but the magic dust he sprinkled on it. Every time it goes on, I remember hearing it for the first time sitting in a garden with my brother and his best friend. It was like being taken out of Scotland and to another planet for 62 minutes and 31 seconds.
The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses
I will never tire of this album. What a special combination of human beings - Brown, Squire, Mounfield and Wren. I never thought I’d get to see them live, then I did. One of the best weekends of my life at Heaton Park in 2012. If I could relive one weekend of my life over and over again, this would be it.
Simon And Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water
The first of my two classics. My dad used to play Simon & Garfunkel when we were on long car journeys as kids. This is pure escapism for me.
The Beatles - Abbey Road
It was a struggle choosing from the back catalogue, but this has so many of my favourite songs on it - Come Together (seems apt now), Something, Here Comes The Sun and Golden Slumbers. I live round the corner in London, and I’ve been lucky to see some of my favourite artists in the most famous studio in the world. Another album that reminds me of long car journeys being made a lot easier.
Air - Moon Safari
Might seem a bit odd in this company, but we need something to calm us all down when we are locked up for so long. This album reminds me of painting my flat in Leith, Edinburgh in 1999 and being in plaster when I broke my leg. It helped take my mind off the pain and also reminds me of such a special time when I started university. Its so calming, it’s necessary when the blood pressure rises.
There you have it. Ten albums for isolation, from isolation. Listen to them back to back and it’ll be time for Best Of British before you know it.