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Baker's Dozen

There's A Song Playing: Brett Anderson's Favourite 13 Albums
Luke Turner , October 5th, 2011 11:03

From The Fall to Kate Bush, Bjork to Eno and Bowie to Midlake, Brett Anderson guides Luke Turner through his favourite 13 albums

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The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead
It's like with David Bowie - there was a bit of me that didn't want to include The Smiths because of comparisons, but I couldn't not. The Smiths were a very important band to me when I was 15, 16. It was perfect timing. In the 80s, when The Smiths were still around, I was the right age for what he was singing about to be relevant to me. I was going through adolescence so the resonance was even stronger. So yes, The Queen Is Dead. Did I choose it because it's my favourite Smiths album or because it's recognised as being the best? There's probably a bit of both in there. It's funny actually, looking back on it there are so many great Smiths songs, but there's so much on singles and B-sides that weren't on the albums, which was definitely an influence on how we did things with Suede. I remember when this first came out it was such an exciting thing. I remember hearing 'Bigmouth Strikes Again' on the radio and thinking, 'Wow'. It was a real fan moment. I remember queuing up at Rounder Records in Burgess Hill, and then playing it, and going through the lyrics. 'Cemetry Gates' was the song that I loved the most at the time, back in 1986. I thought the wordplay was amazing.

Obviously Morrissey is known as a great lyricist but I think he's probably the greatest lyricist. I don't think Dylan is in the same league, with his songs about the 'Jack of Hearts' and things like that. Some of his lyrics are great, but they're not as powerful as Morrissey's. He had a brilliantly balanced dance between the wit and darkness. It was never too comical; well, apart from 'Frankly, Mr Shankly'. You know what I mean - it was this amazing tightrope walk of being slightly ridiculous but incredibly engaging and incredibly serious. And Johnny Marr's guitar playing is amazing. He's one of the greatest ever. Incredible melodies and the craftsmanship of his guitar playing without it ever sounding boring. It never got into Steve Vai territory. It was always tasteful without ever being dull. In the context of the time when musically everything was so cheap-sounding, The Smiths were making - for want of a better word - really organic-sounding music, but it was still very exciting and strangely quite ground-breaking. They were a really inspiring band for so many people, and for a couple of years they were the greatest, they really were.


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Rooksby
Oct 6, 2011 9:04am

Spellcheck: Lou REID??

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Bob Bob Bob Bob Fish
Oct 6, 2011 12:23pm

How dreadfully... well, boring and predictable, especially compared to other artists who have appeared in this series. It's nice to learn or listen to something new, be educated, but there's just nothing here.

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J M
Oct 6, 2011 5:29pm

This is probably the best Baker's dozen I've read so far. Almost every record here is a stone cold classic.

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andres
Oct 6, 2011 5:46pm

In reply to Bob Bob Bob Bob Fish:

I think he is being honest about his picks. I bet that some of the other artist make their picks based on how cool will they look by choosing some obscure 60´s band that nobody even remembers

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lodger
Oct 6, 2011 10:13pm

Bob Bob Bob Bob Fish we are bored of people like you...but probably you are the most bored with yourself....by the way he made a very interesting and marvelous choice...but who can fight with your superb artistic and novelty taste in music...have fun...

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Julian S
Oct 7, 2011 4:18pm

I've had that Interpol album lying around on my hard drive for a while now and Brett's selection has finally made me listen to it. It sounds dreadful - like The Editors or something. Fifth rate Joy Division is being kind.

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John Doran
Oct 7, 2011 5:57pm

In reply to Julian S:

Only people who don't actually listen to Joy Division say this though. Interpol actually sound like The Chameleons... they don't sound anything like JD.

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John Blonde
Oct 7, 2011 6:29pm

Would you have been happier, Bob Fish, if he'd picked some contemporary Chinese experimental music?

Besides, what mattered in this list wasn't the choices themselves but rather what he wrote about them. I very much enjoyed his writing here and in the brief notes included with the recent Suede reissues. He's reflective, self-deprecating, and humorous.

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Julian S
Oct 8, 2011 9:59am

Actually I do listen to Joy Division - it's Interpol I don't listen to. :)

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ted kettle
Oct 8, 2011 10:17am

Morrissey's lyrics are better than Dylan's? That should start a few arguments. Personally, I think he may have a point. But Unknown Pleasures over Closer? No. Sorry, just no :)

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SB
Oct 8, 2011 10:13pm

I just LOVE how you all are complaining about his music choices. Why does everything have to be so unknown and obscure to be considered "cool"?
I was thrilled when I saw Interpol on the list because they are my favorite band. I personally don't see any comparison to Interpol and Joy Division, and I am a fan of both. I just don't see where all this hate is coming from.

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Bolioboli
Oct 12, 2011 10:07am

In reply to andres:

Couldn't agree more. "Favorite" must be something personal, it shouldn't about something else

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Justine D.
Oct 13, 2011 4:01am

I think it would be incredibly difficult to pick just 13 favourite albums. A eclectic and seemingly heartfelt selection that speaks volumes about the man and his music. Great.

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alex caz
Oct 25, 2011 4:33am

In reply to John Doran:

i don't believe interpol sounds anything like JD or the Chameleons! lol... they just ripped off Television. i kinda liked them at first but once i heard jJ72 i was so blown away. one of the best albums ever. love suede, smiths, VU, NYDolls, JD, Chameleons, and the Trashcan Sinatras!

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Jason Parkes
Mar 31, 2012 5:54pm

As a teenager my father insisted on playing 'There is a Light...' after a few ales at family events. He was taking the piss out of it too and my mother joined in. Secretly they both adore that song, I think! Amused at the similar experience...

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Oct 17, 2012 8:39am

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