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Baker's Dozen

Beautiful & Sad: Ben Watt's Favourite Albums
Jude Rogers , January 29th, 2020 09:48

As he releases a new solo record, Ben Watt of Everything But The Girl guides Jude Rogers through his Baker's Dozen, from Frank Ocean to Paul Simon and Bobby Womack to why male music critics were afraid of Joni Mitchell


Joni Mitchell – Hissing of Summer Lawns
Joni's the greatest songwriter ever. And what a record. She writes as this omniscient narrator on this album, surveying everything from above, commenting on this world of women and predatory men she's created, and she has such power and agency as she does it. I've read about how music critics – male critics, let's be honest – struggled with this record at the time. Records like Blue, which touch on a woman's emotional struggles from a subjective standpoint, were so much easier and more comforting to them, I suppose. I love how she intimidated people, and didn't care.

There's a great unreleased bootleg of demos of this album, called The Seeding Of Summer Lawns. Joni's got all these jazz cat musicians in, but she's written all these complicated flute and horn parts for them already, and sings them all, as they're all in her head. It's unbelievable. I can't speak highly enough of her, and of this.