As such, it is probably not a surprise to know that I think her first solo album - America's Sweetheart - is criminally underrated. But IT IS. Even retro of-the-moment early-00s digs like 'But Julian I'm a Little Bit Older Than You' are still hilarious and poignant. Even the lady herself calls it 'that coked up piece of shit I made in the south of France when I needed the money'. However, most of all, it has some of her most affecting songs.
I am, of course, also a great proponent of the iPod iChing. Yesterday, on a train, I flicked onto shuffle and asked the universe for a sign (it's been that kind of a week, dear reader)...
This is what I got. Oh, sigh - baby, you were almost golden..
It took me way back to the year this album came out. I was 23 years old, working a boring temp job and trying to be A Writer, without quite knowing how, living in a sweet little cottage with a girlfriend - where we barely slept for the entire year we lived there, and a boy once pissed on our sofa. I used to listen to this album non-stop. Once, literally, all night. That was when I wasn't listening to What Would The Community Think? by Cat Power and crying my eyeliner off, TBH. It was a time of total extremes, for which this was the perfect (half) soundtrack.
We would spend days on end in the pub, have post-gig parties with all the bands back at our place. On Sundays I could be found at Camden Market, helping out my new boyfriend with his art stall. I still played bass sometimes, then. Sometimes we had people round for spaghetti bolognese and felt grown up. I spent a lot of time in my bedroom, with its wooden floorboards and a huge mirror, taking big-haired panda-eyed pale-faced selfies for my MySpace profile. We used to watch The Dreamers repeatedly, while drinking wine in the afternoons. We were still young enough that skipping dinner and drinking cheap fizz on a schoolnight felt impossibly glamorous. It was the house where we saw a ghost.