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Baker's Dozen

Sonic DNA: Natasha Khan Of Bat For Lashes’ Favourite Albums
Laurie Tuffrey , May 7th, 2013 08:50

As part of our series of articles previewing this year's Field Day Festival, Natasha Khan roots through her record collection to pick out her 13 top LPs


Michael Jackson - Bad
My first gig I ever went to, when I was nine, was at Wembley Stadium to see the Bad tour. When he died, I was in my bedroom in Brighton and I heard it on the radio and I just spontaneously absolutely burst into tears. Michael Jackson, when I was little, was just this God-like being. You know when you're little and you're singing in the car with your mum and your brother and the sister, the world is so good, there's nothing more fun and nothing better. I don't think I've ever listened to someone singing something with that much joy, he was channelling something so fucking out there and it's like he constantly had a bolt of creativity running through his body, like the way he danced and the way he moved. A consummate dancer, referencing Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and James Brown and all these people that he channelled but made completely and uniquely his own. I saw a Spike Lee documentary the other night about Bad. Someone else wrote 'Man In The Mirror' but he took and did all of his - [mimics Michael Jackson] "I'm gonna make a change" - and all of that shit. It's just like, who else would do that? Who else would wear plasters all around their jacket? Who wears white socks with loafers and manages to make it look cool? Nobody was telling him to do that. He's just this fucking eccentric one-off. When he died, I thought the climate of music will never be like that again. It was like he was a child and his brain was a playground and anything he could think of, he bloody manifested that in the world; not many people can do that.

The arc of music that he lived through, his education and his training all the way through, coincided with all these revolutions in music, music videos and dance. I just think that that was a one-off thing. I'm getting philosophical now [laughs], but I was watching Brian Cox the other day and his astro-physics thing and he put 50 stones all in a row on a desert floor and he was like "each of these stones represents billions of years in the history of the universe and where it's going to go." Then he went "here's one stone" and he showed about a millimetre of that stone: "in this bit, this is where the conditions were perfectly right for mankind to exist, this is this time, we're here now". When you think about culture and popular music from the 50s through 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, it does feel like there has been a bit of a cycle, and I've been lucky that I came in at the end of that cycle. People that were born in the 50s had it amazing, because they got to see fucking David Bowie and punk music, but Michael Jackson was a guy that happened in our lifetime. I get really passionate about music, but music, for some people, it's like a religion and he was like a fucking icon.