Vatican’s top 10 albums for a desert island (not making this up, I swear)

I wonder if this list was vetted by Pope Benedict… from the increasingly weird L’Osservatore Romano, via CNA:

‘Thriller’ makes Vatican list of top 10 albums

Vatican City, Feb 19, 2010 / 12:36 pm (CNA).- The Holy See’s newspaper has released its picks for the "top ten" albums "to take to a desert island."  Among the selections are works from the Beatles, Pink Floyd and Michael Jackson’s "Thriller."  [This list doesn’t date any of their thinkers, does it.]

Offering a list of favorites as "musical resistance" to the "growing tide of festival songs" released at this time of year in Italy, the Vatican paper, L’Osservatore Romano (LOR), suggests that its own "modest manual can indicate the way of good music."  [Really… I didn’t make this up.]

The Beatles’ "Revolver" is "definitely the first work to recommend," notes the Vatican daily.  [?! I like the album.  Really, I do… but… is this what I want on a desert island?] The paper then cites some of its tracks which "anticipate the rock revolution represented by Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band" and still today manage to produce "goosebumps."  [ROFL!]

Pink Floyd’s disc, "Dark Side of the Moon" is "extraordinarily enjoyable" and the words, described as "extremely beautiful," don’t come anywhere close to giving it justice, LOR states.

Michael Jackson’s "Thriller," the Vatican paper continues, is a "masterpiece of the king of pop,” precisely because Jackson added his innovative style to the previously-stereotyped “black music.”  [You can’t make this stuff up.]

The article is the latest from LOR in a list of commentaries on elements of popular culture, covering everything from disappointment in the "stale" plot of Avatar to praise for The Simpsons’ "realistic and intelligent writing," although the newspaper deplored the "excessively rude language, violence and extreme choices by the scriptwriters" in the series.

Rounding out the list of musical favorites "to take to a desert island" are albums from Paul Simon, Oasis, Santana and U2, as well as discs from Donald Fagen, Fleetwood Mac and David Crosby.


Okay… fun playlist.  I am eclectic as any (with the exception, I think of Michael Jackson in any form)… but… this?

Respondeo dicendum:  Let’s load these up on the Holy Father’s iPod and see what his reaction is.

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  1. Navarricano says:

    Wow. Does L’Osservatore Romano publish the bylines of the writers of their articles? What aging hipster is wasting their time (and making LOR look ridiculous) recycling rock commentary from Rolling Stone Magazine’s periodic “Greatest Albums of All Time” lists?

    At least they put Revolver ahead of Sgt. Pepper on the list. It’s my favourite Beatles LP too …

    But really, in L’Osservatore Romano??!! Sheesh.

  2. Andy F. says:

    I’m just glad to know my boys in Oasis have been approved by Rome. Woohoo!

  3. Peggy R says:

    This seems like a weird topic for L’OR. I would have expected some more European and non-English-language music if they were talking popular music. That doesn’t say much for modern European music, does it? I also would have expected a Vatican paper to be more interested in classical music, concertos, symphonies, etc.

  4. kjmacarthur says:

    David Crosby?

  5. kradcliffe says:

    OK, Father… let’s hear YOUR top ten! LOL

  6. Girgadis says:

    This just might rank up there with having breakdancers entertain JPII at the Vatican. When I think of being stranded on a desert island, somehow David Crosby doesn’t come to mind. Nor would Stephen Stills or Graham Nash. Neil Young, definitely.

  7. Somebody is logged into the ’60’s, 70’s, ’80’s (I can’t go further since I’ve been ‘in religion’ since the early 1980′;so…all I can say is, YUCK!)
    And I’ll leave it at that; don’t want to be naughty in my comments (as I have been previously!).
    Is it really true that Europe is, like, twenty to thirty years “behind the times”?
    Just askin’…

  8. An American Mother says:

    This may explain a lot about the sorry state of music in Rome . . .

    After what the Holy Father said about rock and pop music in his essay on music and the liturgy, I am puzzled.

    Where are all the splendid albums of classical (not necessarily church) music? Mozart? Bach? Brahms? Mahler?

    My top ten might include a stray rock album or two, but the Magic Flute, St. Matthews Passion, a Beethoven symphony (still undecided), and something by the Cambridge Singers would be in there for sure.

  9. Steve K. says:

    L’OR publishing this comes off as incredibly lame. It’s like watching your parents dance to disco. This is in the same vein IMO as the ten commandments of driving.

  10. mpm says:

    How could these relevant people have forgotten “Hair”?

  11. talonh says:

    While the list noticeably lacks the sacred, and overdoes some pop goofiness, I wouldn’t go to a desert island without Dark Side of the Moon. I’m in my mid-thirties so don’t count me as some aging hippie.

  12. Margaret says:

    How could these relevant people have forgotten “Hair”?

    And Jesus Christ Superstar?!??

  13. cnaphan says:

    The Holy Father would definitely not approve of the lack of Scorpion on that list.

  14. Oneros says:

    The problem is that goody-two-shoes neocons actually take these things seriously as, practically, dogmatic mandates. Now you’re going to have a bunch of scrupulous types go out and buy them, or confused Catholics asking “Wait, did the Vatican approve Michael Jackson’s music?!” And then we’ll have Thriller at Mass…

  15. JonM says:

    I note that Zuhlio didn’t make the cut. [DAWG! Say WHAT?] Shockingly, I do not see Marty Haugen on the list. Given GIA, I assumed LOR would put the United Church of Christ song writer at number 1.

    Hmmm, GIA. Nothing like some neo-paganism in God’s house. But I digress…

    Truly this is a lame and sad bout of ‘cool Catholicism.’ You know, that sort of silliness that is ‘see we can ROCK OUT and be HIP too!’ done of course by aping the silliness of recent decades.

    If I were trapped on a island with those albums, I would take all ten and try to focus light to build a fire. After a meal I would toss in said disks and rid myself of a portal of the enemy (I think some music of the era is not an avenue for meditative union with God, but rather conversation with pretty scarey things).

    My top ten would definitely include Ubi Caritas. When I first heard it in the Fall, I really felt a connection with the early Church.

    Whatever happens, I’m pretty confident 2000 years from now, Haugen and King of Pop sing alongs won’t be part of any Catholic liturgy. Ubi still will!

  16. An American Mother says:

    Hey, my parents danced the Big Apple and the Lindy Hop, and I thought it was pretty cool.

    Of course, mom’s a professional dancer (and still a choreographer doing walk ons at 84) and dad was on his university gymnastics team, so that’s probably not fair. They could probably even make disco look good.

  17. An American Mother says:

    Jon, have you heard the Brückner “Ubi Caritas”? He has a whole series of chant-based graduals that are all quite singable by your choir of average ability.

    Our music director tends to pair a chant with a motet based on the same melody — because offertory and communion seem to last forever and your average 3-5 minute work won’t cover it. A couple of Sundays ago we sang Purcell’s “Bell Anthem” in its entirety, organ interludes and all, and he still had to doodle on the organ because the line was still rolling along.

  18. Jack007 says:

    I would take all ten and try to focus light to build a fire.

    Best idea yet!

    Now, I wouldn’t go anywhere for a length of time without my 1920’s Louis Armstrong and his Hot Seven sides! LOL

    Jack in KC

  19. EnoughRope says:

    Geez LU-EEZE. I’ll take my Texas Country over those turds anyday. Is there nothing more pressing for the LO to report?

  20. Willebrord says:

    I don’t mean to be a spoilsport, but this really does creep me out here.

    Out of all of them, the only name I remember is Stg. Pepper, which I believe had some Satanic undertones (Crowley had a lot of influence on rock music; both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones cooperated together to put horrific material in their music).

    I think Joe Shimmel’s excellent videos on rock music of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and their connection to sorcery would be a good thing to look at.

  21. james says:

    Not to be a drip, but I find it incredible that this was actually printed in the Holy See’s newspaper. Unbelievable. It would be something I’d expect from the National Catholic Reporter… but the Holy See’s own newspaper? Unreal. I like a lot of music – some of it questionable… and I struggle with deleting some of it from my iPod. Which is why this should not be a topic for the pages of the Holy See’s newspaper. Even for fun. How many good Catholic kids lost their souls to some of this music? I know I almost did… Would the Blessed Mother approve or be offended by any of this music? I think the question answers itself… We must be very careful with music. Particularly with music’s affects on children and teens… Not to mention on us parents….

  22. Father J says:

    Good to see that the Rev. Guido Sarducci is still on the staff.

  23. An American Mother says:

    Willebrord, has anybody documented a connection between that wicked old man Crowley and the Beatles or the Stones?

    To my sorrow, I’ve read quite a bit about him (in my hippie days) and never read THAT. And an old family friend is a Wiccan priestess and she never mentioned it. I’d be curious to know.

  24. John 6:54 says:

    Don’t they have better things to do? How does this deal with faith or morals?

  25. Mater si, rock critic no.

  26. EXCHIEF says:

    L’OR should stick to subjects about which it knows something, such as………….uh

  27. boko fittleworth says:

    Does the “Peter’s Pence” collection fund this nonsense? Our betters are holding our souls hostage, not allowing us to give alms unless we first fund needle exchanges, abortions, and this self-indulgent rubbish.

  28. Maltese says:

    What about Clearance Clearwater and Bob Dylan; WHAT?? (looking all indignant), do they have something against Woodstock? :)

    With all due respect, the “Holy Sees Newspaper,” should now be named “The Tablet of Faiths.”! Who comes up with such an absurd list? Is this publication which praises abortion-promoting politicians really representing the Vatican? Well anyway, it is what it is!

    For me, I would pick (in descending order): Gregorian Chant, Palestrina, Arvo Part (yes, I’m a huge, massive fan), Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Enya (no, don’t call her “new age,” she a good Irish girl!), Hildegard von Bingen, U2 (yes, so I am a bit of a heathen), Byrd. There are many more, but if I can only have ten, off the top of my head, there they are!

  29. Maltese: I think these Italians or whoever put this together is definitely in a “time-warp” (I’m putting this mildly)…I don’t get it…somehow, whatever happened in the USA forty or whatever years ago is the “happen’ thing”; is it any wonder we have all the problems in the Church that we do?
    And somehow, Ireland is like twenty years behind with all the nonsense that has been going on there…did not these bishops have a clue that they were not, in fact, being true shepherds of the flock of Christ? Not to change the subject, but it’s all “old hash”, every bit of it.
    Let’s get on with life, with the true evangelization of our culture according to Christ’s teachings according to our Catholic Church; leave off this nonsense, once for all.

  30. GregH says:

    I think L’Osservatore Romano is simply giving a list of the music played in Hell.

  31. MarieSiobhanGallagher says:

    OK, I’m assuming we’re talking pop music here, since the great classical music did not make the Vatican list. That would be a whole separate list for me too…here goes and not necessarily in this order:
    Eric Clapton – Layla
    Yes – Fragile
    Tangerine Dream – Force Majeure
    Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
    Grateful Dead – Just about anything live
    Fela Kuti – just about anything
    Allman Brothers – Eat a Peach
    Culture – Cumbolo (That’s some awesome Reggae for anyone who is unaware)
    Rolling Stones – Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out
    Madonna Tales from the Dance Floor

    Must I stop at ten?

  32. Looks like something a Bishop’s conference would recommend.

  33. Prof. Basto says:

    Indeed L’Osservatore Romano is increasingly wierd. But the list mentioned above does not compare to other recent absurdities, such as L’Osservatore’s praise of U.S. President Obama; L’Osservatore’s criticism of a Brazilian Archbishop who declared the excommunication of those involved in an abortion performed on a minor; the newspaper’s timid defense of the life of Eulana Englaro, compared to the CEI’s combative stance.

    For a very interesting and broad analisys of strange things happening in the Vatican nowadays in the offices subordinate to the Secretariat of State, see:

    So, it seems that the “thriller” top ten list is just another embarrasing thing brought to us by the likes of Giovanni Maria Vian and the Cardinal Secretary of State.

    By the way, I used to think that Cardinal Bertone was a reliable Cardinal, a conservative prelate, and a true ally, friend and collaborator of Pope Benedict. That is now under review.

    By the way, the preacher of the Lenten Spiritual Exercises for the Roman Curia is also a SDB, Salesian of Dom Bosco, a.k.a. Socio di Bertone.

  34. GregH: You said it well.

  35. catholicmidwest says:

    Yet more BS somebody put money in the collection plate to pay for.

  36. trespinos says:

    I would have thought L’OR would have recommended Fabrizio DeAndre’s songs for a desert island. I wonder if it ever gave him his due while he was alive. Unfortunately, no one in the US knows of him.

  37. Tradster says:

    What, no ABBA? At least with their name there’s a Biblical connection.

  38. Ellen says:

    The Allman Brothers Live at the Fillmore is THE album to take to the desert island, as well as The Who Live At Leeds. And a lot of Motown – I love Motown. And Bluegrass, and Texas swing and just about anything but rap and hip-hop (sorry Zuhlio).

    A. Crowley’s face turned up on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, but there’s no evidence that the Beatles took him seriously. Jimmy Page dabbled in Crowley’s magic for a time, but he seems to be out of it now.

  39. Top 4 albums of all-time, and all I would ever need.

    Herbie Hancock – “Headhunters”
    John Coltrane – “A Love Supreme”
    DJ Shadow – “Endtroducing…”
    Michael Jackson – “Thriller” (how can you not like Michael Jackson in any form Padre Z? I thought everyone loved little Michael and at least a couple tracks on the Thriller album….

  40. Gabriella says:

    … with all the extraordinary music composers and song writers that Italy has always produced!

  41. I would add Elvis & Connie Francis.

  42. Sieber says:

    “Big Noise from Winnetka.” Bob Crosby’s Bobcats featuring Bobby Haggart on Bass and Ray Bauduc on sticks.

  43. introibo says:

    What, no Beach Boys?

  44. basenji says:

    Was it Fr. Guido Sarducci’s name on the byline?!?

  45. GOR says:

    I’m beginning to think Gian Maria Vian has completely lost it! If I were to be stranded on a desert island there are a few things I would prefer to have before music CDs (and the wherewithal to play them…).

    A box of matches would be a start…!

  46. kat says:

    I’m going to assume if I’m stranded on a desert island, that I will probably be dying in a short while. I LOVE music; would even have to admit I used to like some of the songs from those albums…but, I have tried to pull myself away from it, as it isn’t very Godly! So, if I’m about to die, I guess I don’t want rock-n-roll!!! Don’t want to invite hell to come up and sing with me in some of those songs LOLOL. Besides…how will I play the music???? tee hee

    In all seriousness, this is really sad coming from the “official Church paper.”

  47. Ef-lover says:

    Anyone up for a top 10 list of folk mass songs, that you can’t live without–
    I’ll start—-1) Here We Are
    2) They’ll know We are Christians by Our Love

  48. TJerome says:

    Not a very “diverse” repertoire. Tut, tut. Tom

  49. wanda says:

    Father J! ROFL! Man, that’s funny! I haven’t though about ol’ Fr. Guido Sarducci in ages! I guess now we know what became of him!

  50. Rich says:

    When the term “old hippies” stops being a perjorative but just tells it like it is…

  51. Mitchell NY says:

    Not even one Gregorian Chant album by any of the wonderful monastery recordings out there??

  52. greg the beachcomber says:

    This is kind of a tangent, but lately it’s occurred to me that Mick Jagger could be Satan. Yeah, I know it sounds nuts, but consider:

    He’s said so in his lyrics;

    If the Devil took human form, who else would he choose?

    He hasn’t bothered with a disguise; and

    He’s GOT A DEAD GUY PLAYING GUITAR! (and maybe drums. And maybe rhythm guitar.)

    Still sound nuts?

  53. Ef-lover says:

    I will finish my post from above if you please- top ten folk mass songs to take to a desert island which LOR can publish————————————————
    1. Here I am Lord
    2. They’ll Know We are Christians by Our Love
    3.Sons of God
    4. Kumbya
    5. Glory & Praise
    6. And the Father Will Dance
    7. I Am the Resurrection and the Life
    8. His Banner Over Me is Love
    9. Let the Fire Fall
    10. The Lord’s Prayer set to the music of the Rolling Stones “As tears Go By”

  54. TJerome says:

    I might just jump into the water, if I had to put up with the 10 oldies posted by EF-lover. Tom

  55. robtbrown says:

    If I could take one album, it would be The Art of Fugue performed by the Fine Arts Quartet (with Leonard Sorkin) and the New York Woodwind Quintet (with Samuel Baron). It was never released on CD, but I was able to get a friend to put the LP’s on a flash drive. Then I put them on a CD.

  56. eulogos says:

    Now you are in my territory. I was thinking Bach Cantata number 4, as number one on my list. (Christ lag in todesbunden.)
    Susan Peterson

  57. pablo says:

    Here is the Traditionalist Top Ten for a Desert Island:

    Oh. I forgot. All they need are some Rosary beads.


  58. Maltese says:

    I go there infrequently myself, but I thought AQ bloggers had some pretty funny stuff to post regarding this same article (including LOR superimposed, apparently, with the Sun)!

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