Choosing the Big 5

With my cross-country road trip coming up in the next few weeks, it’s time to start making the tough decisions: hotels, routes, emergency kits, etc…

There’s one decision that is more important than all the rest though. Which CDs make it into the “Big 5.”

Since my car is newer and more reliable, it will be staying here with the wife and kids while I take my wife’s car across country. One area, however, where her car has mine trumped is with the CD player. While there’s only a slot for 1 lonely CD in my car, she has a 5-disc changer. The question is: which 5 CDs are good enough that they get to start out the trip already loaded.

Like I said, huge decisions.

I’ll probably be listening to Pandora/Google Music/Audio Books/Podcasts on my phone for the majority of the trip, but for those portions where there the data stream is a little weak (i.e. the Midwest), I have to have something in ready reserve for when the signal drops. It can’t just be any piece of music either. This is a road trip! One inappropriately placed TLC song, and the entire ride can be ruined.

Right now, four of the spots are pretty well locked in with a few options in place for the final spot. Of course, nobody’s position is really secure. They have to make sure they perform at the top of their abilities at all times. Here’s the list in the order of the likelihood that they make the cut.

1. Counting Crows: August and Everything After 

This is a sure-thing no-brainer. It’s the greatest album ever made, and it’s basically been in my CD player on a permanent basis since 1993. Round Here, Mr. Jones, Rain King, and A Murder of One are just a few of the songs that makes this a necessity. Just push play and watch Oklahoma fly by.

2. Our Lady Peace: Spiritual Machines

You’ve probably never heard of this album, and if you have, you probably don’t remember it. One of the things I hate about the explosion of the MP3 is that artists don’t really make albums anymore. They tend to make a collection of really good songs and lump them together because they know that no one really listens to an album from start to finish anymore. Released in 2000, this CD predates that slightly, and it is definitely designed to be listened to in one sitting. There aren’t any songs that really jump out at you as being awesome, and there’s some interesting science fiction dialogue interspersed throughout the tracks, but when listened to as a whole, it is just an incredibly satisfying album. I love it, and I think it’s one of the most underrated albums out there.

3. Bon Jovi: Cross Road

In my wilder days (read: college), the minute someone played a Bon Jovi song, the shirt was coming off and I was dancing. If this sounds exciting, it’s because you never saw the 140 pounds of pale bone and gristle that I was in college. It didn’t matter though. As soon as the opening chords of Wanted Dead or Alive came on, the shirt came off and the girls went…away. While I have certainly mellowed with age (and finally put on some weight), you never know when that type of energy will be needed during a long road trip.

4. Waylon Jennings: Greatest Hits

If it’s going to be a true road trip, there has to be some country music, and if there has to be some country music, it has to be Waylon Jennings. He was one of the few celebrities that I remember shedding a tear for when he died.

5. To Be Determined

The 5th and final spot is still up for grabs. These are a few of the albums still under consideration: Adele: 21 (scoff if you want, it’s probably the greatest album of the past decade), Eric Clapton: Complete Clapton (problematic since it’s a 2-disc set), Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers: Greatest Hits, Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band: Greatest Hits, The Who: Greatest Hits, Trik Turner (self-titled), Thirty Seconds to Mars: A Beautiful Lie, The Elders: Racing the Tide, and a few others.

Who’s going to make the cut? Tough decision. It will probably be decided based upon which albums my wife will allow me to take, but it’s a good thing I’m an officer so I can make these kinds of decisions. 🙂

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