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Baker's Dozen

Northern Uproar: Tanya Tagaq's Favourite Albums
John Freeman , November 30th, 2016 10:06

With the release of her phenomenal new album, Retribution, the Inuit throat singer talks to John Freeman about the albums that make her laugh and cry. And laugh some more.


Elliott Smith - Either/Or
I love Elliott so, so much. It is hard to describe why – I never met him, I never saw him play live and I will never forgive myself for not ever seeing one of his shows. All of his albums have left a huge mark on my life. I loved how sensitive he was and how intelligent he was. I got how much agony he was in and how he lived a life of addiction. Levels of depression and addiction are statistically very high amongst Inuit communities. What especially resonated with me was how he died, as there is a very high suicide rate in Nunavut. People go through a lot of hardship here and – I know I am generalising – are wonderful, wonderful human beings. Just because someone is going through a difficult time, doesn't mean they are not intelligent and it doesn't mean they are not sensitive and loving. I find that Elliott Smith's music helps me when I am feeling sad or having a difficult time – he makes me feel like I can make it through. I love all of his work. I could have picked any album, but Either/Or is perhaps my very favourite. However, I also truly love the earlier albums and how shitty the production is on them. They are not jazzed up – it is just him being himself.