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Baker's Dozen

Heading To The West Coast: Susanne Sundfør's 13 Favourite LPs
Michael Hann , September 13th, 2017 08:32

The Norwegian pop star made one of 2015's best albums in Ten Love Songs, but her Baker's Dozen reflects that synthpop was never where her heart lay

Susanne Sundfør is a proper pop star in Norway - chart-topping albums and the whole kit and caboodle - but few outside her homeland had much idea who she was until 2015, when she released Ten Love Songs, a dazzling album of synthpop, simultaneously grand and intimate. It was her third successive album of electronic pop, and you'd have thought that was What She Did. But no. She's now signed to Bella Union, and her new album Music For People In Trouble is an abrupt about face into singer-songwriter territory, often just her and a guitar or a piano.

Her Baker's Dozen reflects that. There's not a glacial electronic soundscape to be heard; no boffins hunched over vintage Moogs; no one who performs cloaked in darkness. There is, though, an awful lot of California sunshine. It's not just that Sundfør spent a period of time after she finished touring in support of Ten Love Songs living in California (she thinks Los Angeles is now attracting so many musicians that it's become one of the most fertile and creative music scenes again), it's that the music of the West Coast was always her bedrock (she has a moment of panic as we talk, when she realises she has left out Carole King's Tapestry; she has to drop Cat Stevens' Teaser And The Firecat to accommodate it).

She grew up listening to singer-songwriters, thanks to her parents, and her first album clung to that style. The switch the synthpop came as an experiment: it turned out she was very good at it, and explored it for three albums. But after Ten Love Songs was completed, she had a breakdown, which led to her pressing the reset button on her life and her music. Music For People In Trouble is the result of that reset. Click through the picture below to see the 13 albums she has chosen for her Baker's Dozen.