The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Peculiar Relationships: Neil Gaiman’s Favourite Albums
Emily Mackay , November 21st, 2013 08:30

Following this week's release of his live collaborative album with Amanda Palmer, the fantasy and science fiction author picks out the records that have most inspired and informed his writing


Nouvelle Vague – Nouvelle Vague
I love encountering songs that I know and love from a different angle. And I couldn't think what the perfect punk album was to put down on this list. Is it The Clash? Is it the Pistols? Something weird? Rattus Norvegicus? And I thought, actually, one of the things that I loved about Nouvelle Vague was that it gave me these songs that I knew, and it gave them back to me in this wonderful upside down way as if they were being played in a little French cafe at three o'clock in the morning and there's a glorious girl chanteuse and she does not even know what the lyrics mean, but they're just doing these punk and post-punk songs I grew up on. And it's magic. I don't find it sacrilegious, because I don't think you can destroy a song, because the song's still there. It's the same as when people say, “Oh, they fucked up your book, when they made that movie.” And I say no, my book is fine. I get very unimpressed with cover songs that are just like the original. Because I think, I've got the original. My least favourite Lou Reed gig ever, and I saw Lou play many times, was the second half of the Magic & Loss gig. Because he played Magic & Loss all the way through and that was amazing and beautiful. And in the second half, he came out and played the hits. And I'd never seen him do that before. He played all the hits just like they were on the records! The thing I always loved about Lou was that you'd be four minutes in before you'd suddenly go, “Oh my god, this is 'Waiting For The Man'!” I loved that strange feeling of hearing something that I'd never heard before even though it's a song I know. And I would much rather be taken by surprise by a cover song in a way that I'd never expected. A feeling like it gives me the song anew.