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Baker's Dozen

"Where Was My Mind?" Jenny Hval's 'Favourite Albums'
JR Moores , October 28th, 2015 12:02

We asked Jenny Hval to pick her 13 favourite LPs, which she didn't, because she thinks that's a "horrible" task. Fair enough, said JR Moores, so here, instead, are 13 underappreciated records she's hoping you'll go out and enjoy


Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water
I feel like I've chosen something that is kind of pornographic to me because when I grew up I learnt that Simon & Garfunkel, that's music for girls, meaning like 'girly girls', and it's for people who don't even like music, just the stuff that's for everybody, like The Carpenters and all that really famous old stuff. I listened to them sometimes by mistake and got very embarrassed. In my 'guilty pleasure' days, they were pretty high up on that list but I don't really have guilty pleasures anymore, thank god. I thought a lot about this album and talked a lot about it with Lasse [Marhaug], my producer, when we made my new album. It was really important for us in that process.

I'm a bit disturbed because I just watched Bad Timing two days ago. Have you seen that film? Art Garfunkel stars in it and he's [takes a deep breath]... it's very disturbing. Now I'm not sure I can ever listen to this album again. I get very sweaty now because I keep thinking about this awful scene in Bad Timing. People who've seen the film will know.

It's such a weird album because you've heard it in so many awful settings. I can't even say how many awful, awful versions of the title track I've heard. And still I love the original. But I HATE all the covers. One of my favourite songs of all time is on that record and it's 'The Only Living Boy In New York' which I just find incredibly beautiful. I'm a huge Paul Simon fan as well. I think they're much more experimental than they're given credit for. I find it really amazing that they were so popular and they were still crazy. When you listen to that album or Bookends, which is even more experimental, I guess, the songs are so wildly different, the effects are quite extreme for a pop album. The way they recorded stuff was quite innovative and the way they produced their stuff. I just love that you can be so experimental with music that has such strong melodies. When I was studying, I studied film and philosophy and creative writing, very academic creative studies, but in my spare time I was starting to make music and a lot of the time I found myself making Simon & Garfunkel with complex philosophy lyrics. I was very embarrassed about this for years and I didn't understand why. To me, it's as natural a place for complex ideas: simple, beautiful folk melodies. It's a shame that voices that are soft or high are seen as lighter, intellectually, or not necessarily intellectually but less visceral, less deep than more rocky stuff. My listening doesn't really have any boundaries between pop music and other types of music that's far away from pop music. I'm just incredibly interested in this album and I think it will continue to interest me for many years.