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Baker's Dozen

Summer 13: Malcolm Middleton's Favourite Albums
Nicola Meighan , July 13th, 2016 08:42

Following the release of his sixth album, Summer Of '13, and before Arab Strap play their anniversary gigs later this year, the musician talks Nicola Meighan through the records that have had the biggest effect on him


Madonna – Like A Virgin
This was the first album I ever bought, and that was really important to me. Until then, I had maybe three singles – they were all Frankie Goes To Hollywood – and I always loved listening to the top 40 on my little transistor radio. But this was the first album I bought myself. I didn't have a record player, but I got the vinyl, and I used to listen to it in my sister's bedroom when she was out. I pored over every word in the sleeve notes and I listened to it ten times a day, because it was my only album.

The tone on the album's quite down, isn't it? 'Angel', 'Over And Over', 'Like A Virgin' – they all seem kind of down-key, and maybe not what you'd expect from pop music. And it's in her delivery too. Her stuff on True Blue was much more upbeat, going back to the '50s and '60s and girl groups, but her voice on ''Like A Virgin' is emotive, and desperate, and poignant. Sad. Or rather, not happy. Was Madonna a pop miserabilist back then? Maybe I'm a direct descendent of Madonna. I could name at least two Arab Strap songs where I've played a Madonna melody on guitar in the background.