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Baker's Dozen

Thirteen Albums I Currently Like, From A To M. By Stephin Merritt
The Quietus , March 15th, 2017 10:42

As he releases new Magnetic Fields album 50 Song Memoir, Stephin Merritt doesn't delve into the past for his Baker's Dozen list but instead gives tQ an A-Z of some contemporary favourites, from Japan to Marc Almond, bawdy cockney songs and the BBC Radiophonic Workship. Pic by Marcelo Krasilcic

"My mother was mostly into folk-rock, with forays into Shakespeare songs and two musicals: Oliver! and the rather folk-rockish Godspell," Stephin Merritt tells The Quietus; "I heard so little of the "standards" that I had to deliberately learn them in my 30s." Therefore you'll not find the run of the Velvets-Kraftwerk-Reed nu-canon in Merritt's Baker's Dozen, but instead a list selected of "the only albums I wanted to both listen to and write about", and like many Baker's Dozen respondents Merritt won't sign up to some notion that he has a definitive list of top records.

"Can we ban the idea of "favourite" for a decade?" he says. "I don't have favourites of most things, and I don't believe other adults really do either. Only ten-year-olds think that way, and people who take social media uncritically. I sleep on my right side; does that make the right side my favourite side to sleep on? No. I have listened to Tusk more than any other record, so much that I can't actually hear it playing, like you can't actually hear your refrigerator humming unless you focus intently. Is it my favourite? Probably not. Would I recommend it to people in general? No; it's not that kind of album". Do you feel there's a theme or thread that unites all the music you love? "I'd like to say I like fun melodies and good lyrics, but both of those are very rare, and I love lots of music that has nothing to do with either of those. I love Funkadelic, and Satie, and 1/2 Japanese, and Nurse With Wound, and they wouldn't give a rat's ass for "good" melody or lyrics." 

For the 13 records that are not favourites of Stephin Merritt but that he is listening to at the moment, please click his picture below. Magnetic Fields play at the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville Tennessee later this March, for more information go here