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Baker's Dozen

Survival Songs: John Grant's Baker's Dozen
Barnaby Smith , September 8th, 2021 09:05

John Grant takes tQ through the 13 albums that have defined his life and guided him through tough times, from the beauty of Fad Gadget to the joy of Bernard Fevre, via Ennio Morricone, Kate Bush and more


Nina Hagen – Fearless

This had the super smash hit, ‘New York New York’, and it’s another record that I listened to day and night. It’s such a weird fucking record, and it sounded horrible live – I’m glad I never saw it live because it would have thrown me off. The second track is ‘My Sensation’, which was my favourite track for a long time. She sounds like some kind of weird valley girl Ethel Merman. The whole record is such a trip. I was knocked on my ass by all the stuff I was discovering, and this record is absolutely beloved to me – and it has one of my favourite covers of all time. It also has ‘I Love Paul’ and ‘TV Snooze’, which is fucking hilarious.

My friend David, who I mentioned, was horrified by her: “There’s no way you like that shit, you just want to be interesting, there’s no way you’re actually enjoying this.” He was completely wrong. I was a goner, completely sold. We used to sit in theatre class and write her into the play we were doing: “Nina Hagen enters stage left with chainsaw and rubber chicken.” My parents were like, “This music you’re listening to is absolutely disgusting and there’s no way you’re going to be listening to that when you’re our age.” Well, I’m now older than they were when they told me that and Fearless still brings me incredible joy. My favourites are ‘I Love Paul’, ‘Springtime in Paris’, ‘My Sensation’, ‘UFOs’. There’s a German version of the album called Angstlos, which has a track called ‘Lorelei’ that is not on the English version. Of course I have everything. Nina Hagen is also the reason I fell in love with German and decided to learn it.