The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Death Before Silence: Ed Harcourt's Favourite Albums
Wyndham Wallace , March 4th, 2013 06:44

Singer, songwriter, pianist and all-round bon viveur Ed Harcourt talks to Wyndham Wallace about his favourite records


Big Star - Third/Sister Lovers
I first heard this in [photographer] Steve Gullick’s car when I met him in 2000, and I remember at the time going, “What the fuck is this shit? They sound like they’re on drugs!” I mean, I was pretty young. I wasn’t as weathered. How tastes change through time! But then it was 2004 when Jari Haapalainen, the Swedish producer of my third album, said you have to listen to Third / Sister Lovers. This is the album you have to listen to while we’re making this.

It just sounds like a band that are falling apart. If you could ever have an album that is a depiction of a band imploding… It’s so fucking dark, that album. When he’s saying “Thank you, friends” it’s just so sardonic, so cynical. He’s a wilful purveyor of his own destruction, you know? ‘Whole Lotta Shaking Going On’: it’s like ARGHHHHHHHHHH! He doesn’t give a fuck! He’s like, “Fuck you! Fuck the world!” And also ‘Downs’ is horrible! To end an album on those words: “Ah, whatever…”

It’s literally the sound of someone going insane. Or they’re already insane and they’re wading through this quagmire of madness and they want the whole world to know. Never has dirty laundry been aired so wonderfully.