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Baker's Dozen

Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Albums: Alex Kapranos' Baker's Dozen
Ian Wade , August 19th, 2013 09:04

The Franz Ferdinand frontman distils his record collection into a top 13 favourite albums


The Beatles - 1962-1966 (The Red Album)
I almost forgot about this one. It’s funny how easy it is to miss the things right in front of you, but this record, more than any other, is the most loved record of my life. I know it’s a compilation, not a proper album, etc, but all LPs are compilations of sorts and many of the songs on here didn't appear on LPs. Also, the LPs of that early era were stuffed full of covers that could have been played by anyone, so this is the most representative.
I’ve listened to it as a record all my life. The copy I picture right now is the copy that was in the flip-down compartment of my parents’ Grundig stereogram that they got as a wedding present. Like Angel Delight, the Ford Cortina, G-Plan furniture or Clark’s shoes, this LP was a ubiquitous object of their generation: a part of everyone’s life. That’s what it was to me as a kid – part of my life. It was my first taste of music, before I could speak, before I could describe what I was listening to. It’s still with me and I will always listen to it until I’m dead. It is part of life.
The context around this music has changed for me. When I was a toddler I had no idea how it came into existence. It was just there. Then I realised it was people who made it. Then I idolised them. Then I reckoned Lennon was probably a prick. Then I realised he was just a guy who wrote good songs, but became too rich and famous for his mental health.
I picked this rather than one of this band’s famous albums, even though each has such a strong identity, as it means so much to me. I know there are complexities of ideas, ground-breaking experimentation, revolutionary themes and era-defining moments elsewhere, but this is what defined me. It’s also their best period. It starts with 'Please Please Me'. It ends with 'Paperback Writer'. That’s The Beatles for me. Well, my Beatles. Well, The Beatles on the front cover. There’s that other band peering through their moustaches and beards from the back cover with the same name. Yeah, I love that band too, but not in the same way. The Red Album is the purest record ever made. I don’t know what it is – rock & roll, rock, pop, faux classical… I don’t care. I know the context, I know what it is and I know that nothing has ever or will ever be as great, just as I did when I was a toddler.