The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Crime Plays: Writer Ian Rankin On His 13 Favourite Albums
Luke Turner , November 21st, 2012 07:37

Ian Rankin talks to Luke Turner about his life in music, and how he'd like to write novels based on Joy Division and David Bowie albums


David Bowie - Outside
It's the David Bowie album that nobody likes. What I liked about it is it's a murder mystery. At it's heart it's a very noirish private eye story. A murder has happened and it's to do with the art community and art galleries, it's in an alternative universe that isn't quite our universe. Bits of narration come in, different characters. It's almost like a rock opera or a film. But it doesn't tie up at the end - apparently there's supposed to be a part two, but I don't think he's ever going to make it. It's an open-ended mystery. I went through the lyrics with a fine toothcomb trying to work out what is the plot and whodunit and the rest of it. I've not worked it out. I'm waiting for the call. It does have a couple of absolutely superb tracks, it's got 'Hallo Spaceboy' and 'The Hearts Filthy Lesson', which I think was used as the closing music for Se7en. It shows that after God-knows how many albums he's still stretching himself. Whenever he was getting comfortable he went somewhere completely different. I love that restless quality that has always been in every part of his career. Pick one record and it'll be a fascinating listen.