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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


Pat Benatar – Seven The Hard Way
I'm glad you chose Pat Benatar, and especially this album. Last time I came to see you for the Quietus, I brought you an 'Invincible' picture disc…

Yeah, it was the 12" as well – it has an amazing instrumental version on it, which is brilliant. Back in those days, this would be the mid-'80s, I had enough pocket money to get a few singles throughout the year, but I couldn't get an album till Christmas. I think that Christmas, I got Seven The Hard Way and possibly the second Frankie album. I loved her album before that, Tropico, but this was one of those rare moments where you love a record and then you get the next one – and it's actually better, and you enjoy it more. Usually it goes down a bit, doesn't it? It's a bit like the Madonna thing with Pat Benatar. The songs are pop and the melodies are great, but there's something about her delivery that's not happy. There's something about the tone of it.

'Invincible' was one of the first songs I heard from Seven The Hard Way. 'Run Between The Raindrops' is a favourite, because it's got these massive, big chords and a big ending. 'Sex As A Weapon' I never quite understood. And 'Walking In The Underground' – I have these memories of being freezing, about 11 or 12, having to go to high school, and you'd be sitting with your back pressed up against the radiator with your toast and syrup, as you did in January in Scotland, and you're burning your back because you're so cold but you're not quite heating up, the rest of your body's still freezing. That's what I remember when I think about listening to this record, especially that song. All my memories tend to revolve around food. I have better memories about times when I've had something nice to eat.

I kind of distanced myself from this album as a teenager, but when I rediscovered it as an adult, I was surprised by how much the guitar playing by her husband, Neil Giraldo, had influenced me and the stuff I played with Arab Strap.