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Baker's Dozen

The Fabulous, Most Groovy: Director Edgar Wright's Favourite Albums
Mark Andrews , June 23rd, 2017 09:39

With 'Baby Driver' all set to be one of the Summer's biggest hits, director Edgar Wright sits down with the Quietus to choose his 13 favourite albums


Beck – Midnite Vultures

I think at the time, people hadn’t gotten used to Beck’s serious-album-followed-by-fun-album approach. He was basically alternating at this point in his career. Odelay was the fun album, then Mutations is a much more serious album. Midnite Vultures is a very fun, almost silly album, which is followed by Sea Change, which is a super-serious, heart-wrenching one.

If I had to pick one song from the entire album it would be 'Mixed Bizness', which is I think one of the funkiest things ever. When I first listened to Midnite Vultures, I thought it was the ultimate end of the 20th Century party record; it’s the closest he gets to Prince or James Brown. But some of the later tracks do touch the depth of his other work, ‘Broken Train’ and ‘Beautiful Way’ especially. One of the things that’s great about Beck is that he has an extremely sensitive folky side but he’s also a very witty lyricist and he doesn’t really get enough credit for that. I think the rhyming throughout is fantastic. It’s definitely on the borderline of being comedic.

‘Debra’ on Midnite Vultures is almost like a Flight of the Conchords song but it’s done with such brio. It features in Baby Driver. ‘Debora’ by T Rex is also in the movie because a character is called Debora and Baby and her are in a diner discussing songs about her; one of them knows the T Rex and one of them knows the Beck and they talk about them both.

When I first listened to Midnite Vultures in 1999, I was 25. I had maybe been to The States once. Yet, when I listen to it now, it really feels like it’s got this vibe of being recorded late at night in Los Angeles. It has this late night neon glow to it. There are some songs that really conjure up the sleaze and shallowness of Hollywood Boulevard and the Sunset Strip of that era: ‘Nicotine & Gravy’, ‘Hollywood Freaks’, ‘Peaches & Cream’.

When I first went to Los Angeles, I learned my lesson very quickly. People say, “Come to this club on Hollywood Boulevard” and you go in and you feel, “I do not belong in this place with the bottle service and the beautiful people.” Having lived in Los Angeles longer, I then found the places I really wanted to be hanging out in. Having been in those clubs and having listened to this record, it seems like a very satirical account of those vapid Hollywood parties. As a picture of a scene it’s hilarious but also funky at the same time. The further I am removed from those parties or clubs or bars, the more this album amuses me. It doesn’t sound like Lou Reed but I get the same feeling of the skewering a scene that you get from Transformer.

Q Magazine put this on the list of 50 Worst Albums Of All Time, which is just ridiculous. This album is a sonic riot.