EW Staff
April 16, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

1 BJORK Debut 1993 (ELEKTRA) ”When I got her solo album, she was asking me to do a video. I remember I had a different idea for each song; it was so diverse and colorful and full of inspiration.”

2 MISSY ELLIOTT This Is Not a Test! 2003 (Elektra) ”There’s a song on it when she talks about her feelings [‘I’m Not Perfect’], telling other women that she feels the same way as them. A lot of singers try to do that, but she’s so honest, warm, and genuine that it comes across really great.”

3 PEACHES Fatherf — -er 2003 (XL/Beggars Group) ”I don’t like swearing, but her music is minimalist, avant-garde — really joyful.”

4 THE WILLOWZ The Willowz 2004 (Dionysus) ”It’s their first record. There’s something really childlike in their music…very punk.”

5 MARIE-NOELLE GONDRY I Play With My Piano circa early ’90s (self-released) ”My mother’s music has inspired me from when I was a kid. I use it in my documentary and my short film [on the Work of Director Michel Gondry DVD].”

6 WILLIE NELSON Stardust 1978 (Columbia/Legacy) ”When I was kid, I played a lot of Booker T. & the MG’s. Each time I would listen to the B3 [organ] on Stardust, I was like, ‘Oh, it’s nearly as good as Booker T.’ I realized later that it was produced by Booker T. Jones.”

7 XTC Black Sea 1980 (Caroline) ”They looked like nerds on this album cover, but their music was so powerful.”

8 THE WHITE STRIPES Elephant 2003 (Third Man/V2) ”I’m not crazy of rock music in general. But with Meg at the drums — she’s completely deconstructive — it’s more like an art project.”

9 TALKING HEADS Remain in Light 1980 (Sire) ”They play the normal instrument like a machine. But they came into the studio with no prewritten songs, so it’s very spontaneous at the same time.”

10 RAY CHARLES Wish You Were Here Tonight 1983 (Columbia) ”At first I was disappointed because it’s country music, but then it became one of my favorite ever.”

11 BECK Sea Change 2002 (Geffen) ”We had breakups at the same time, and I did this video for Radiohead [‘Knives Out’] talking about my breakup and he did this album.”

12 IAN DURY Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll: The Best of Ian Dury and the Blockheads 1992 (Rhino) ”I hate the title. Well, sex, okay. Drugs, no, and rock & roll, no. I like Dury’s voice — he was never in tune.”

The latest film from the French director, acclaimed for his music videos, is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

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