The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

The Business Of Forever: Theo Hutchcraft Of Hurts' Favourite Albums
Simon Price , October 6th, 2015 12:04

The lead singer of classy, continent-conquering synth duo Hurts, about to release their third album, Surrender, goes from Phil Spector to Nine Inch Nails via UK hip-hop and Bulgarian folk songs as he picks his top 13


Various - A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector
I love him, and everything about his musical approach: the ambition and grandeur of it all. But I think it's important to have a Christmas album in here, because Christmas music is a great form of pop. It's something we all listen to. Its essence is memory-based, and the longer it goes on the more powerful it gets. So, a new Christmas song is useless, essentially! It's only any good after about five years. When we put our Christmas song out ['All I Want For Christmas Is New Year's Day'], I was like, "Give it time"! And ours is very Spector-y in its approach: it's got the big booming drums and the eighths, and all of that stuff. But this Phil Spector album, on the contrary, sounds like it's got memories attached to it. It seems like it must have already felt like it had always been around, even when it was new. There's a great texture in the sound that can capture anybody. Songs like 'Baby Please Come Home' [by Darlene Love] are so brilliant. Everything about his production is extraordinary, the way he wasn't afraid to go OTT. We've been known to do that quite a lot and I quite like his boldness and his eccentric approach to music. Also, it's got a really weird spoken bit at the end, which is him saying thank you to everybody for listening, merry Christmas and so on. I love that it's called A Christmas Gift For You, so he made a Christmas album as a present you could give. And just as songs, some of his Christmas songs are among his best pop songs. And that sound just became the sound of Christmas pop from then on, the sleigh bells and that sort of upbeat melancholy. That is the Christmas that we all know. Before it, what was it? Elvis doing 'Blue Christmas'? There wasn't really a Christmas sound. There's a celebratory melancholy to do with Christmas. That strange, end of the night feel. And yet, The Ronettes' 'Be My Baby' has that same sound. It's a weird emotion, and it's one that I treasure in songs.