Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

13. Kanye WestHold My Liquor

Definitely my favourite song on that record [Yeezus]. I think it’s a great record, if you can get past the "bitches" and what’s that about Chinese pussy? Kanye, fucking grow up man, you’re not 15.

I was talking to Michael Azerrad, ’cause he’s got me to do a couple of podcasts for him. And his clever little thing is to get musicians to review other albums. In conversation, I mentioned this track, and he said he got Lou Reed to write about the record. He said Lou Reed was in tears listening to this track.

It’s a very emotional track and it’s very clever. He switches between making jokes and sounding very desperate indeed. One minute he’s being very flippant, and I guess it’s like being drunk and not drunk. The drink and the comedown, the hangover, whatever. Really beautiful, but also powerful, and quite punk in a way. And the arrangement is so clever and unexpected and unusual. He’ll give you one thing and then give you something quite different, but it all works from section to section.

I heard this while I was making What Happens Next and I was really impressed with the synth bass sounds, so I ended up having Thomas [McNeice] in, and we worked out where there would be a mixture of his bass playing and some electronic bass. You know, Lou Reed’s point is that Kanye is demonstrating what he can get away with, which is good. I think there’s quite a few "I can do what I like moments", including talking about "sweet and sour pussy" [sic].


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