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Baker's Dozen

Fuller Pictures: Susanna On Her Favourite Albums
Eoin Murray , February 14th, 2018 14:36

Susanna guides Eoin Murray through 13 favourite albums, from Joni Mitchell to Leonard Cohen, Janet Jackson to Bonnie Prince Billy and Bjork


Janet Jackson - Velvet Rope
This album just popped into my head on new years eve actually... I was at a party and we were curating a playlist where everyone chose a track and it just came to my mind. The song was 'Got 'til It's Gone' [a song that samples Joni Mitchell's 'Big Yellow Taxi'], but it was the whole album came into my head. I first got into it around the same period as the Joni Mitchell albums I was listening to and it felt very real and important to me. I was listening to a lot of pop and R&B at the time so this was right up my alley.

tQ: What I find with this album, among some of the others you've chosen, is that in a couple of places she samples, covers and interprets the music of others and turns it into something entirely her own, using songs by Rod Stewart and Joni Mitchell and adapting them for the album's singular storytelling… It's something that's always been very present in the covers found on your album's too…

To me it's about getting to know the song and putting it in the right environment, using my voice and… yeah… it's about making it my own. I don't feel comfortable doing a song the way someone else has done it if it doesn't feel meaningful to me. Janet Jackson definitely made something of her own with this whole album and the concept of it all.

When I put it on at the party I was like, "Wow, I can't believe it's been like 10 years since this came out" and everyone turned around and reminded me that "Susanna, it was 20 years ago". I was like, “Oh Shit!”. I couldn't believe it.

tQ: It's is an incredibly honest, dark album, especially in the ways it confronts love, intimacy and sexuality, abuse and depression. Was that rawness and openness something that spoke to you when you first discovered this album, and when you started writing your own music?

I don't think I was conscious of these things 20 years ago... but it is interesting to look back at it now and to see what this album was actually about. I'm sure it had something to say for me as a listener then and that's why I found it so interesting at the time though.

And it goes for everything that I sing about, I find it interesting to include a fuller picture of both love and life and death and grief or other tragedies in life. I find it important to shed some light on not just happy times... Which shouldn't come as a surprise really.

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