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Baker's Dozen

Time Portals: Sophie Ellis-Bextor's Favourite Albums
Fergal Kinney , January 27th, 2021 10:25

After cheering up the nation with her lockdown kitchen discos, Sophie Ellis-Bextor takes Fergal Kinney through her 13 favourite albums, from Blur to Madonna, Paul Simon and Fleetwood Mac and musicals


Blur – Parklife
Like anybody the same age as me, this just takes me right back to school. It was a really significant time for me, and Parklife is a good example of what was happening in the UK music scene that time. I loved music but it was primarily stuff my parents played – my teenage years was when suddenly I had all the bands that I loved, and I could tell my parents what was happening in the charts. I was just absolutely obsessed and started buying the music press every week. Happily, a lot of the music from that time sounds really good. Parklife is a brilliant album and a brilliant snapshot of a country I recognised – there's a lot of affection in there, but also a lot of reality. Feeling part of a tribe too, if you were an indie kid there was a real look to it, and if you were in your little Adidas zip-up top and saw another kid wearing the same then you knew you had something in common. I found the whole thing really exciting, and led to me starting going clubbing, which led to me being someone who wanted to be in a band.

It's interesting now with a bit of distance that what you were doing with your early singles sounds less like what was going on in pop or dance at the time and seems to anticipate what would come slightly later with indie disco, Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem, Franz Ferdinand, I wonder how similar your reference points would have been?

Yeah 100%, I always felt amused that I ended up in pop music because I was such a firm indie kid for years. I was in a band called The Audience in the late 90s, we were post-Britpop, and that was where my heart was. When I got asked to do 'Groovejet' at first I was slightly insulted – I'm an indie kid, that's what I do – but there was something about the song that I liked. Doing the song was a bit of a rebellion really, I felt like my band had gone from this big hope in the music press and it had all gone – I'd lost a record deal by the time I was twenty, the music press weren't being very nice about me. But actually, it changed my whole outlook. But that meant that I came to everything I've done with a real indie sensibility and a real band sensibility.