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The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Music: Benjamin Myers’ Favourite Music
The Quietus , September 29th, 2021 09:41

Music journalist-turned-novelist Benjamin Myers shares the music that made him a writer from The Slits to Slipknot – and why almost all of it is impossible to write to…


The Slits – Cut

The greatest song or album ever made is the one you hear when you’re just turning sixteen and you think you’re in love, and for me is Cut by The Slits.

I think the best – and certainly the coolest - punks were all female: Siouxsie Sioux, Poly Styrene, Gaye Advert, Pauline Murray and especially Ari Up, Viv Albertine and co. Everything about this album is original, from the pace to the playing to the lyrics, to the artwork. There’s a lot of space in it, and really it’s a reggae record created by a disparate group of personalities who used the limitations of their abilities to their advantages, as most great artists do.

Every time I hear ‘Instant Hit’, a song about heroin, I’m reminded of the final weeks of school, and my future unfurling in front of me to become a giant question mark sitting on the horizon. The only other song that evokes such a Proustian rush back to my late adolescence is ‘Deeply Dippy’ by Right Said Fred, which I associate with getting tugged off in an empty rugby stand (the only time I’ve ever been in one, come to think of it), and then having to immediately run a mile across town in six minutes in order to make the last bus home. That’s a tall order if you’ve ever attempted it.

Cut also features one of the great cover versions of all time in ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’, while ‘Typical Girls’ and ‘Love und Romance’ are songs that I never tire of.