Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

As Simple As Fun: Beth Ditto’s Baker’s Dozen

As she releases new solo album Fake Sugar, Beth Ditto swears & enthuses about 13 favourite records to Louise Brown, taking in the filth of Lil' Kim to David Bowie and the queer punk of Buzzcocks via Missy Elliott and Lauryn Hill

The thing you need to really know about Beth Ditto is she loves music. She gets so excited about the mere mention of 90s British late night slacker series The Word, and evangelising about ESG to the whole room, and my campy tattoo of Rob Halford and admittance she loves hair metal, that she jumps out of her seat every few moments. And when she gets really off-the-chart dorky about an artist Every. Statement Is. Punctuated. Not to mention her laugh is loud and infectious. As far as limiting her to 13 albums? Impossible.


Ditto, who it also should be noted swears like a sailor, is already an artist who refuses to be contained. She has already pushed the boundaries of music and fashion throughout her 18-year-career as a singer, musician, broadcaster, writer, designer, activist, and in her words “fat, feminist lesbian from Arkansas”, so to put such stringent rules on her forces her to do only what she can do, and that’s disobey them flagrantly and often.


She picks compilations instead of albums and when she talks about 60s flower power poster child Melanie Safka, she mentions Candles In The Rain, Gather Me and The Good Book much more that she does her chosen record. She laments the omission of Cyndi Lauper, George Michael, Tori Amos, Boy George, Cat Power, Amy Winehouse, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, White Stripes, Madonna. She gets as excited about Neptunes and Outkast as she does Lauryn Hill and Lil’ Kim. Every album she describes comes with a list of albums she could have chosen instead. She describes Missy Elliot as a pop culture nerd, and she should know, she is definitely one herself.

After almost two decades of fronting pop powerhouse Gossip, Ditto finally quit to concentrate on her solo career, and like the delectable feast she describes in The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, she too has created a smorgasbord of pop perfection. If you think she’s giddy when talking about music, imagine what she must be like making it. If she jumps from hip hop, to punk, to soul, to rock, all in one sentence, so imagine that energy and obsession pouring itself onto a blank canvas. Fake Sugar, which is out on June 16 through Virgin Records, is Beth Ditto in a perfect chrysalis. Every iota of joy she gets from music has been encapsulated and is set to burst. It’s bluesy, it’s camp, it’s heavy, it’s got a touch of Dolly and Loretta heartache, it’s got ballsy dance groove, it’s got 80s power ballad kitsch, it’s fun. Actually that’s it. It’s fun. As she says, sometimes it’s that simple

Beth Ditto’s Fake Sugar is released this Friday, June 16th. Click the image of Beth below to begin reading her selections

First Record

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