Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

11. BjorkVespertine

I think that if you like music it’s virtually impossible to not like Björk. She’s like Prince in that regard, all that creativity and artistry is very hard to not fall in love with, or at least admire. There are certain parallels between the two, actually. Both self-contained, very headstrong, both incredible live acts too. They’re also both phenomenally honest and open (Prince perhaps to the point of over-sharing!) about their emotions and sexuality. Vespertine is a really intimate experience but it’s never uncomfortable, rather it’s just honest and fearless. It’s also unbelievably beautiful musically, poetic but not obtuse, and really humbling. My producer on Voice Of An Angel, this proper boffin opera producer called Jeremy Caulton, was always saying to me, "She’s got the best voice on the entire planet, never mind all the opera singers." She was a child star too – she had her first album out when she was 12 – but she got out of it a bit quicker than me. I sort of got stuck! Debut‘s incredible, I’ve listened to Post a lot, and Homogenic and Biophilia… I saw her doing Biophilia in Paris and it was everything I could have hoped my first Björk concert would be, but at the same time it crushed me because it was so inventive and so beautiful. She had an 18-piece choir and they were doing all these complex harmonic things which made me think, "How are you even doing this? This sounds impossible." But Vespertine is really rare in terms of its feel and subject matter. It’s really sexual, really sexy, but not at all in a way that cheapens her. Listening to it is a bit like living on the tip of a clitoris. Yeah…

Selected in other Baker’s Dozens: The Anchoress, Lotic, Shabaka Hutchings, Susanna, Teju Cole
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