You are no doubt familiar with the idea of Desert Island Discs, something essayist Simon Reynolds points out as not necessarily your favorite music, just records you, for sentimental or random reasons, can't live without; writer Anthony Miccio furthers this notion with something you are "familiar with that's inspiring without being too connected to (the) human life" you're missing. We all have our list, narrowing it down, if we must, to one single fantastic collection (mine is Bauhaus' The Sky's Gone Out, the Canadian import...or Headset's Spacesettings, if you care). However, as editor Phil Freeman notes in the forward, more important to this text than the definition is whether or not you care to read 21 (plus Freeman's forward) disparate, intentionally-pedantic contributors carry on about music, a portion of which you've actually heard (if you're lucky); that kid who wore his Holy Diver shirt every Fall day in 8th grade failed to get you into Dio, so how can someone do so now?
Matt Ashare waxes sentimental over the "tricky ninth chords" and his emotional experiences at age ten with Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road ("'Bennie and the Jets" - my first-ever air-piano song/the cartoon cover image of Elton stepping out onto a yellow brick road...was going to make this a relatively easy sell for my protective parents, in spite of the trademark platforms Elton's pictured wearing."); Douglas Wolk defines his first encounter with Stereolab's "Jenny Ondioline" (from Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements) as a "liquid rainbow" ("I stood there, pointing my head straight into (the speaker), barely moving, breathing only when I remembered to, for eighteen minutes. That was the greatest sound-moment I've ever experienced."); while dissecting The Cars' The Cars, Rob Harvilla proclaims that, "The first sixty seconds of `Just What I Needed'/that's all I'll be needin'. Seeing as how I possess the forty-four seconds preceding the greatest drumroll ever recorded." As with the 33 1/3rd book series, each writer is allowed his or her journalistic slant, some creating fictional scenarios of plane wrecks and slowly draining iPod batteries (Laina Dawes' Stoosh by Skunk Anansie), stereo systems made from "coconuts and palm oil" (Ned Raggett's Loveless by My Bloody Valentine) and abductions that involve literal forced-at-gunpoint selection processes (John Darnielle's Legends by Dionne Warwick).
Surprisingly, all but a few of these quirky journalists - writers from The Wire to Nerve.com to Ohio's Other Paper - convince; they do a brilliant job expressing love for and laying claim to something they will rely on for aural comfort for the next day, week, or years until rescue from some uncharted piece of land, persuading you - yes, you the jaded listener with a 4000 CD collection - to check out this music. Okay! I'll revisit Dio, already!