Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

10. Neutral Milk HotelIn The Aeroplane Over The Sea

I hate to be a real boring Baker’s Dozen guy, but it’s going to be In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. In a sense it’s a bit like Astral Weeks in that there’s not a great deal I can say about it that people haven’t already said. It’s strange how, when people describe their dreams to you it’s the most boring conversation on Earth, and yet so much of the best art makes you feel like a dream. I don’t always think of the Anne Frank aspect to the album. Not every line, just every so often. It’s like having a vision of a dream. It’s like I’m getting to experience someone else’s dream. I think Astral Weeks has that. I think Spirited Away, that Studio Ghibli film, has that. Some passages of my favourite books have moments that are incredibly dreamlike, even though I don’t really like it in literature because I like to know who’s doing what and who’s the detective and who’s the suspect.

Lyrically, it’s so intense and so interesting. Like, “Your father made foetuses with flesh-licking ladies while you and your mother were asleep in the trailer park”, and “Will she remember me 50 years later?” It’s like he’s moving through eras of time, like a really interesting film. Although I think you get much more from it in musical form, because it could be quite tiresome as a film.

But I feel like shouting ‘Holy shit!’ when he’s finished ‘Oh Comely’. I think the experience of it is you are part of this dream, and when it finishes you just want to swear, because it gets you, both on a conscious level and subconscious level.

Selected in other Baker’s Dozens: , Charlotte Church
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