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11 Desert Island Vinyl Records for Rediscovering Rock and Metal

November 25, 2016       Within Reach
11 Desert Island
Vinyl Records for Rediscovering
Rock Music

Since vinyl LPs are becoming a resurgent phenomenon and people want to own physical copies of their music in analog format, we have our own recommended, Top 11, desert island rock albums to recommend to ALL rock fans, both kids and those young-at-heart.  These vinyl LPs should be in any vinyl collection.
  It is Black Friday season and you might find plenty of online shopping opportunities to treat yourself to some of the most underrated and some of the most revered rock music albums of the past few decades.

Given that recording companies and 90s bands are reissuing their stuff in remastered vinyl again, plus scrounging around vintage music shops for 2nd hand mint copies of old vinyl records can get you their original pressings, check this shortlist of our favorite desert island vinyl LPs.  Stuff you should be looking for aside from Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Van Halen and other rock or pop superstars.

David Bowie:  Let's Dance

David Bowie was known as a theatrical 70s rockstar, but it was his 1980s hit album Let's Dance that made him his most renown moment in the rock world with classic 80s anthems like Modern Love, Let's Dance, and China Girl.  Bowie is so revered by the English that his face is on a currency note by one Transition Town that chose to print their own money. 

If you like 80s hook-driven rock and roll, you won't go wrong with this album of Bowie over his more eclectic and eccentric 70s albums.  The first few vinyl LPs we recommend are rock albums you can dance to.  Enjoy all of those old and cheesy dance moves in time to classic 80s rockers like Let's Dance.

Rico J. Puno:  Macho Guwapito

If we picked Bowie, we pick his Filipino counterpart too, a rocker who can croon a love song and a rocking disco anthem in the same album.  He might be considered 'baduy" or too cheesy for millenials and his reputation as a lady's man might be too much for snooty "rock" primadonnas who can't hear the balls-out singing, but if anyone could choose a desert island vinyl LP of any Pinoy rocker, your first choice should always be good ole Rico J.

If you like rocking songs you can dance to that are Pinoy, there's no other anthem better song than the title track.  70s disco-rock anthems by Pinoys sort of grow on you as you grow older, and Rico J is just one amazing crooner to rediscover as a rock singer of his time.  His songs may sound more disco than rock but his voice is definitely the high point of his music.  Pray that some kid out there gets to sing like him when they grow up rather than some weeaboo boy band.

Billy Idol: Vital Idol

Wonder who the punk with the sneer appearing in odd comedy movies is?  He's Billy Idol, a rock hero of the 80s when cheesy American rock and pop was the anthem of kids, influenced by the American Top 40 radio show, everywhere.  For 80s kids, Billy Idol was their Elvis. 

Idol's songs were sexy, rockabilly, and you could actually dance to the drum machine beats on their 12 inch, single, extended play versions--these are what compose most of the songs on the Vital Idol vinyl release.  He does not have a boxed set release yet in vinyl which we hope can be fixed soon.

Grand Funk Railroad:  Closer to Home

Looking for a classic 70s rock band that no one can sneer at in your vinyl collection?  The Beatles have their haters, the Stones too, and even Led Zeppelin have been chastised as sell-outs.  But for a funky guitar band with bluesy riffs that paved the way for some of Heavy Metal to find inspiration and musical guidance, you can't go wrong with Grand Funk Railroad. 

GFR play funky songs you can shake your hair to, which is the start of the heavier, guitar driven songs in this list.  If you want to play rock with bluesy funk and in the old school way without looking geriatric, cover Grand Funk Railroad.

Guns & Roses:  Appetite for Destruction

Forget karaoke stoopid song of the century--Sweet Child O'Mine.  That's NOT what GnR were about.  Real Guns & Roses fans may even tell you that's their worst song ever. 
The best songs here include Welcome to the Jungle ( a staple of NBA arenas to rally crowds), Night Train, Mr. Brownstone, our favorites Rocket Queen and Paradise City.  There may be better musicians among the 80's hair bands like Winger, Slaughter, Warrant, but for sheer, raw stomping and headbanging rock anthems, with William Axl Rose on vocals, you get the best value out of a vinyl LP version of Appetite for Destruction.

When you hear their album in analog vinyl, you'll wonder why rock music these days is as bad as it is. Younger rock bands may be turning the tide and are now all aping the look and sound of 1980s bands now.  This album should be one of the easier finds if you are looking for a copy but it may cost a premium because many vinyl collector-rock fans look for it first to add to their collection.

Rush:  A Show of Hands

Reviled by music critics (who loved, say Dylan, or The Stones) as playing contrived and cheesy rock during the 70s and 80s, generations of young rock fans snubbed Rolling Stone magazine and  embraced this progressive rock trio from Canada for their ability to weave stories into their music while playing unforgettable, hook-driven rock anthems.  Their best albums are from the start of the 80s until early 90s.  This Canadian band's live 80s album, A Show of Hands showcases all of their best songs by the mid-80s, and most of their songs in the live album were also Billboard Top 40 hits. 

Rush inspired many musicians to play technical as a way for making songs come alive and hooky at the same time--from Metallica to Death Metal bands.  If you are a kid wanting to learn how to play your instrument--guitar, bass or drums as a rock musician, you might find inspiration from listening to Rush's A Show of Hands.  For fans of the 80s who loved the rock of the era, Rush's rock songs are immortal and the band still has sold-out concerts in huge, arena stadiums to this day.  As a live album, A Show of Hands has the band playing heir songs a tad faster then the album versions but they still play tight live, and often, better than album versions for some songs like Closer to the Heart.

Yngwie J. Malmsteen's Rising Force, Trial by Fire Live in Leningrad

This unheralded, double platinum rock classic is a hallmark of all things Yngwie.  Malmsteen is regarded as a rock god--a guitar god to be precise--in East Asia more than in the west.  His Bach and Paganini infused rock guitar, classical arpeggio solos shattered the guitar world's way of playing guitar solos forever.
  Because of Malmsteen, we have Joe Satriani and better Technical Death Metal as we know it. 

If you want to know why almost all Japanese rock guitar superstars play their instruments that way, listen to this album and enjoy the sheer beauty of Joe Lyn Turner's own 80s-style howlings of pure pop rock with Malmsteen playing classical speed metal guitar.  This is the second live album recommendation for rock vinyl LPs. 

Lush:  Origami Boxset

The 90s never ended. Club and theater tours of 90s indie rock bands, particularly shoegazer bands are having strong crowds--old fans and new kids discovering the music fueling the revival.  One of these bands are Lush. As a pop-tune, song-driven, British band fronted by Miki Berenyi, you get to enjoy their hooky chops and distortion pedal signature shoegazer sound.  Lush get kids a glimpse into the very diverse music scene of the 90s when small bands ruled MTV Alternative Nation back when MTV still played music videos around-the-clock. 

As a guitar band fan, you want to listen to everything that can make songs indelible in your memory and this genre does it in a way no other rock genre can and stay timeless even up to this day.  If you like "white noise" guitar rock music, you won't go wrong buying the boxed set of their album discography and it will still be relevant and priceless 20 years from now, just as it was 20 years ago.

Ride:  Nowhere

Guitar band playing shoegazer with lilting male crooners is Ride, an obscure 90s, British band that got a top 10 recommendation from Rolling Stone in 1992 along with the likes of Napalm Death (another genre pioneer releasing their first death metal album, Scum).  Their trademark, distortion wall-of-sound guitar, mixed with jangly pop tunes won fans over forever.  If you like Oasis, but hate karaoke, you're better off with Ride.  Oasis may never reform and play fan-favorite karaoke songs onstage, but Ride found that fans wanted them back and flocked to their mini-club tours en-masse for their old favorite brash and inspiring guitar pop songs.

Watching them play again on KCRW Live will give 90s fans the chills--no better way to explain how shoegazer never grows old on anyone who is a fan.  Unlike karaoke Oasis.
  Ride's is so beloved by fellow guitar and rock musicians, that many cover their love song-anthem, Vapor Trail in their own releases and make it work even as an acoustic version.

Emperor:  In the Nightside Eclipse

Every kid wants a rock album that totally kicks face and won't be compromised by having adults hum along and say that's nice.  Instead of Metallica's master of Puppets or Soundgarden's Louder than Love, we recommend one uncompromising genre--True Norwegian Black Metal--with pioneering band, Emperor.  Their orchestral riffing was heralded as ground-breaking for the genre at the time the album came out--same time as Ride above--and Norway has never been the same since--churning out Black Metal favorites like Dimmu Borgir for kids to have more good stuff adults will hate. 

If anyone gives you a Bible lecture for listening to great classical guitar infused rock--they probably listen to Sinatra's My Way which is more Satanic than people will ever know--you can ignore these creeps and listen to the Emperor's music for what it is.  Great metal.  The vinyl version of this album is so revered that every reissue is sold out immediately especially boxed set collections.  True Norwegian Black Metal will never sound so sweepingly grand than on a vinyl LP copy.  Get the boxed set if you can afford it.

Cryptopsy:  Cryptposy 

Their first dive into technical death metal after a misstep into death core (think My Chemical Romance squealing and droning death metal riffs--yuck) is worth a big chunk out of your wallet just to get the vinyl LP version of this future gem.  Two-Pound Torch, the lead song of the album is so beautiful that I pray the Lord make it my own birthsong according to the Music of the Spheres theory of Pythagoras and Johannes Kepler.

Technical Death Metal is Cookie monster (vocals) death metal but with technical guitar arpeggios built into crunchy riffs and riff blasts which are backdropped by the most intense technical beat-blast drumming.  Cryptopsy make the genre their own with crunch and technical prowess infused into their own signature guitarwork.  They are not just any other technical death metal band miming Cacophony riffs onto a death metal backdrop.  If you are already a fan of technical death metal--having a vinyl LP copy of this album should be a worthy and priceless addition to your library.  Feel the full power of both Cookie Monster vocals and the trademark Cryptopsy crunch, plus drummer Flo Mounier's intense tech drumming in the vinyl LP recording.  At the most extreme spectrum of rock--extreme metal, Cryptopsy rounds out our vinyl LP recommendations.

So there you have a listing of 11 desert island, rock albums you might want to get for your vinyl LP rock collection. 

If you are exploring rock music for all ages, you might have your favorites too, but this list covers the 70s to this age using hooky songs, rock anthems, and guitar bands as the standard for a desert island collection.  Rock music on vinyl sounds fuller and tigher while sweeping you off your feet when the guitar solo or when the vocal anthems go into overdrive.  Enjoy vinyl LP hunting if you decide to pursue an analog music collection and take advantage of the Black Friday to Cyber Monday online shop offers to get the best deals anywhere.


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