― sundar subramanian, Monday, 29 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
― Sean, Monday, 29 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
Sean, you and I must have a CD microwave party someday. Though
actually I do own three albums and have a favorite track, namely his
cover of Gary Numan's "I Die You Die," which is sublime. I resist the
69 bandwagon to this day, though, as what I've heard from it moved me
not at all.
― Ned Raggett, Monday, 29 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
― keith, Monday, 29 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
Also, I have very fond memories of working on a large, physical project
with a couple of other people who also knew 69LS inside and out, and
singing the songs in order, from memory, with my friends. (Well, we got
about halfway into disc 2 before we finished.)
I mean, it's mannered as fuck, and if you can't deal with that then
don't bother, but the high points are SUBLIME. (This applies even more
to the 6ths--"Waltzing Me All The Way Home" gives me shivers.)
― Douglas, Monday, 29 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
― anthonyeaston, Monday, 29 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
― Matt Denner, Monday, 29 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
― m jemmeson, Tuesday, 30 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
― Nick, Tuesday, 30 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
― the pinefox, Tuesday, 30 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
Good: SM's voice. He also has a knack for a pretty 80s melody. (Of
course, real 80s pop records can be found for $1 second-hand.)
Dubious: Total lack of ability on any instrument. Things were
better when it was all-electronic but I'm not even convinced anymore
that the electronic pop production is that much more impressive
The stripped-down instrumentation on 69LS (which should maybe
have been called 69 Hate Songs) serves to put more focus on
the lyrics, and here comes the crux of my problem, which I find hard
to articulate. He gets compared to Morrissey but, at least with the
Smiths, Morrissey wrote about specific situations, with social
context and emotional nuance, resonant because they challenged
romantic ideals with human detail. Self-pity was usually undercut by
the illumination of the narrator's self-delusions (as in "I Know It's
Over," "Reel Around the Fountain"). With some exceptions, Stephin
Merritt's lyrics lack these qualities and I don't find them saying
much to me. For the most part, they seems to be a string of variants
on "You left me and now everything is horrible" - not that this is
intrinsically useless but one could easily hear the same thing on the
radio for no cost at all. The humour sometimes comes off as just as
facile as the pathos. On the level of craft, he relies heavily on
cliches, which are sometimes twisted cleverly and sometimes just left
to sit there.
There is, as has been widely noted, quite a bit of filler on 69
LS. I'm not saying it's a total dud but I'm not sure his entire
oeuvre amounts to as much as Pulp's much more affordable Different
Class. I feel like I've been had.
― sundar subramanian, Tuesday, 30 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
― Kodanshi, Tuesday, 30 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
his lyrics do leave me cold. There seems to me such a friggin' huge
emotional distance between his subject matter in the listener. His
words are so thick with commentary on the popular song there is no
room for left for feeling. But he does write some great melodies and
I get something out of that.
― Mark, Tuesday, 30 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
But that's just my opinion. My extremely, extremely strong opinion.
― Ally, Tuesday, 30 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
Morrissey comparison?? red herring - no comparison, really.
Merritt all about negativity (break-up, bitterness, etc) - ? - I
can't see that this is borne out by the actual material.
Lack of playing ability: I have to disagree, at least in that the
guitar player and cellist are really talented. cf. for instance the
gtr playing on 'Boa Constrictor'. (But I accept that you don't in
general like the lo-fi sound of the LP.)
Finally - what is an 80s melody? How is it different from a 20s, 60s,
70s, 90s etc melody?
You're right that he doesn't marry rich slices of evocative, scene-setting
lyrics with lines about love in the way Morrissey used to. But no way are his
songs always bloodless and unaffecting. Off 69 Love Songs try 'Meaningless',
'Yeah! Oh Yeah!', 'Absolutely Cuckoo', 'No One Will Ever Love You', 'Washington
D.C.' (where what a cynic might see as sniggering pastiche instead comes
across to me as a wonderful reaffirmation of belief in the simple truth of love
- "It's just that's where my baby lives, that's all.."), 'All My Little Words' etc
etc. And that's not to denegrate the ones where he is just playing around with
the form either (with 'Love is Like Jazz" exceptions, of course...)
― turner, Tuesday, 30 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
― gareth, Tuesday, 30 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
― anthonyeaston, Tuesday, 30 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
― Tom, Tuesday, 30 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
Since the mid-eighties at latest, there's been this omnipresent
fallacy in the rock/pop world that "emotion" can only be conveyed
spontaneously -- that "emotion" equates to lyrics that sound like
stream-of-consciousness scribblings, and is inherently absent from
anything that anyone sat down and thought about and
wrote. You can trace this back to the whole Appolonian /
Dionysian dialectic in art, or you can just take this pithy quote
from the guy who runs Double Agent: "It's the difference between the
Smiths -- the articulate expression of emotion -- and Pearl Jam or
Soundgarden -- the emotional expression of inarticulateness." It's a
hideous fallacy -- see any emo record for evidence of this assertion -
- and it's already proven untenable, in that if it were true, the
Smiths would be the most emotionless rock band of the past two
This, in essence, seems to be Merritt's entire intellectual agenda
w/r/t the pop song -- (and I'd point out to Mark that 69 Love
Songs is far more aggressive about this agenda than most of his
other work, toward which I can't really understand the "distant"
charge being levelled). What makes Merritt valuable, in my eyes, is
that he's one of very few people today who view the text of
the pop song as something that can be whole and coherent for purposes
other than humor or distance. He writes as a songwriter --
rather than trying, like so many singers, to pretend that some screen
has been dropped and he's right there with you, rambling in your ear,
he accepts the fact that he is writing texts for your consumption and
entertainment, emotionally and intellectually, and this opens up a
whole realm of address and possibility that's completely absent from
the aspiring-poet's-diary school of lyricists. (His whole career is
worth it for one line: "You won't be happy with me, but give me one
more chance; you won't be happy anyway." Who else could do that?)
I'd argue that this same sort of approach extends to the music he
makes, as well, but this post is probably growing long enough as it
is. Suffice it to say that I feel like there's a whole complex
underlying his aims, specific fallacies that he's valuable for
refuting, and chief among them is this idea that it's more authentic
or more emotional to watch people do than it is to watch them
think -- a concept that's largely alien to me, because my
primary joy in art and words comes from the fact that they alone can
serve as a conduit of people's thoughts.
That said, Holiday is, like, the greatest thing ever, except
maybe the Dean Wareham song on the first 6ths album.
― Nitsuh, Tuesday, 30 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
― Sean, Tuesday, 30 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
― Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 30 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
For me, the emotion level doesn't enter into it in my dislike of the
Fields. I think that Merrit's lyrics are obnoxious and overreaching -
I personally don't think his overvaunted wit is much of anything. I
find the sound to be unforgivable. And Merrit's vocals are enough to
make me shoot someone (and his choices in fellow vocalists are only a
step above him). It all really boils down to the sound of it, for me -
it sounds like a perfect sonic description of everything I hate
about music. I can't describe it any more than that.
But yes, I agree that the concentration on that above all else is a
mistake. I'm a Merritt agnostic, though, and I find that, far too
often, the songs feel like an intellectual exercise. I find myself
jerked out of any engagament with them by a recognition of the
technique, which is so foregrounded in 69LS that I, like Mark, can
appreciate the thing without ever getting anywhere near to loving it.
I'm generally reluctant to talk about literature, but maybe a
parallel's with Georges Perec, whose literary career largely
concerned rules and constraints. His 'Life A User's Manual' is may
favourite novel ever: it succeeds in engaging me in both form and
content where his 'A Void' fails to overcome its constraint
(outrageously, omitting the letter e completely) amd ends up an
interesting lexical exercise.
"Strange Powers", on the other hand, has strange powers over me.
― Tim, Tuesday, 30 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
― anthony, Tuesday, 30 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
As for Mark's comments, I'd offer the following sort of over-
theoretical explanation of what is actually a fairly obvious
concept. In aesthetics, I think, there are many instances in which
going very far in one direction actually brings you around to its
opposite -- my best examples of which are those sprightly, bouncy
Cure songs that somehow seem like the logical end-point of gloom and
frustration, toeing the inevitable line between "manic"
and "depressed." With regard to my comments above, I'd say that
Merritt, lyrically, manages to do exactly that w/r/t "emotional
connection" and "spontaneity," . . . actually, I have to do something
now, so I can't finish this thought. Suffice it to say that a line
like "come back from San Francisco / and kiss me, I've quit smoking /
I miss doing the wild thing with you" is pretty hard to call stilted
or distant or emotionless or something-you-can't-relate to -- this is
about as plain and everyday an emotional admission as you could
possibly want from a song.
― Ronan, Tuesday, 30 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
I regard Merritt almost as Morrissey once used to regard himself - in
terms of finality, endings, and tying things up. The MFs mean a great
deal to me, partly because of my investment in "the pop song", which
(investment) has only been clarified and intensified (not dissipated)
by (eventually) hearing them.
From my POV, 69LS is a Very Major Event In Pop History. Holiday, on
the other hand, I think is close to his weakest work ever.
>>> I appreciated that particular articulation more than, in the
past, I've appreciated a lot of articulations of why people *like*
the [MFs'] music.
― absolutely cuckoo, Tuesday, 30 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
I can't give a technical explanation right now but Gershwin's "I'll
Build a Stairway to Paradise" sounds like a 20s melody to me, "White
Rabbit" like a 60s melody, "Bizarre Love Triangle" like an 80s melody.
When the Bangles covered "Hazy Shade of Winter," it still sounded
like a 60s melody. When Frente did an acoustic version of "BLT" in
the 90s it still sounded like an 80s melody. Has to do, I think, with
the lengths of the phrases and the intervals chosen.
Lo-fi isn't a problem for me. I don't think 69LS is more lo-fi
than my favourite Sonic Youth albums. It's definitely more hi-fi than
anything I've done! The guitar line on "Boa Constrictor," which is
probably as good as the playing gets on the set, strikes me as
competent not exceptional. I definitely think there's more musical
substance to the MF when they go electronic. "Ability" was probably a
poor choice of terms on my part - "accomplishment" maybe.
I'm assuming that the recent posts defending SM's lyrics are in
response to Mark's criticisms and not to mine because my problem
wasn't with Merritt trying to be witty and ironic and crafty and
distanced. I was in fact looking for witty, well-crafted pop
songwriting. I think I just generally find that too often they offer
romantic tropes, stock situations, and non-reflexive (is
that a real term?) self-pity. Or something like that. I like that
the Smiths could create characters with whom you could empathize but
also realize their (and your) failings and errors - I like my
self-pity with a level of self-consciousness.
I hate the Cure's lyrics for their romantic melodrama.
(Rock ballads that I like I think I usually like despite the lyrics.)
"Come back from San Fransisco/And kiss me I've quit smoking" was one
of the best moments on the set I thought -- it was too bad it had to
be followed by "I miss doing the wild thing with you."
.. "My Heart's Runnin' Round Like a Chicken With Its Head Cut Off" -
that's the tune I can't shake.
They're great live - but 69LS didn't do much for me. Not that I
thought it was drivel - I just never got into it like Holiday
or Get Lost.
― Dave225, Tuesday, 30 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
Sonically I enjoy them as well. Summer Lies and Busby Berkly Dreams
are beautiful songs, even without words.
― Jeff, Tuesday, 30 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
― Ian, Tuesday, 30 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
i rather like the Magnetic Fields now. I still only own that one
album. I may have listened to the whole album, every song back to
back, once. I don't care whther it's sincere or clever. It has some
catchy little tunes for me, and i like the fact that it's a jumbled
mess, like a big box full of broken toys.
i rather like the Eggers comparison, even though i don't want to get
into the cleverness for its own sake mode, as i may have managed to
avoid thinking of the Magnetic Fields critically altogether, and been
healthier for it in this specific case.
― badger, Tuesday, 30 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
― Sterling Clover, Tuesday, 30 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
It might be me, but from what I can tell from a lot of lines being
quoted here in Merritt's defense, *they're* pretty melodramatic as
well. In which case, what is more important, the song or how it is
But is that enough reason to care? I realize I'm having (self-amused)
fun by bringing up these points, but still, I seem to have moved from
a point last year where I believed people really did care about the
MFs to now, where I'm actually not so sure about that anymore. I
don't doubt anyone's sincerity here, I should note, but there's
something odd about this debate that seems to be focusing less about
Merritt and his work and more about how to read him. And surely the
answer to that question is -- however the hell you want to.
But what I was about to post was this:
Actually, the more I think about it, part of the thrill of his
material is that it essentially dares you to reject his texts,
dares you to assume he's kidding -- much of the enjoyment I take from
his lyrics lies in the fact that his authorial stance allows him to
lay out lines of such straightforward clarity that they seem almost
taboo if interpreted as "sincerity." (The taboo, of course, being
the long-running post-Elvis "Thou shalt not employ formal rhetorical
devices in popular music.") I'm not levelling this charge at anyone
here, but I feel as if I've met quite a few people -- Mag Fields fans
and haters alike -- whose opinions on Merritt are solely based on
their inability to take certain tropes seriously: they either find
him wonderfully funny/clever or insufferably funny/clever because
it's not occurred to them that his more surprising metaphors may not
be intended as humor. But I'm going to resign from this thread and
take that thought home to work on it some more, because I feel like
there's something to it -- some sort of rebellion-through-structure
thing -- that is key to my appreciation of a whole lot of different
bits of music.
As a specific response to the standard lyrical criticisms, I'd submit
69 Love Songs' "Meaningless," one of the finest fuck-you songs
I've heard in years. But then again, this thread is tending toward
a "Lyrical Aspects of 69 Love Songs" classic or dud rather
than an actual Mag Fields classic or dud, so . . . let's talk about
*adopts Bugs Bunny voice* Ain't I a STINKER? (As opposed to a
some sort of rebellion-through-structure thing
"Hey hey, you think it's a puncture/Turning rebellion into structure."
Er, anyway. A rebellion through structure? *considers* ...I'm leery
of such approaches, or rather the way of phrasing that, seems to be
the eternal problem of exchanging one ideology for another and back
Among some folks I know, that is precisely the answer. ;-) But
that's your point as well, natch. I guess anything could be
rebellion, but that implies there's something to rebel *against* --
and with me and my r.s. nature, I'd argue that's chasing at shadows.
I wouldn't so much see it as rebelling against something as reacting
to it -- the idea of rebelling being a self-contained construct.
Musician to self: "Lo! I respond to the tyranny of presumed
Outside viewpoint: "A tyranny existed?"
Maybe i'll post something longer tomorrow. i'm lost for words,
all you dud-sayers.
― Alan at home, Tuesday, 30 October 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink
We're evil that way. Death to consensus! ;-)
It might be me, but from what I can tell from a lot of lines being
quoted here in Merritt's defense, *they're* pretty melodramatic as
Well, yeah, that was sort of my point. That once you get past the
concept and the cleverness it's the same old same old.
no, it's not, but shit changes right out from under your nice little song sometimes
― j., Sunday, 3 August 2014 19:08 (four years ago) Permalink
Still don't really dig much post Get Lost/Wasps Nest. Like his synth pop formalism better than his broader formalism.
― Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 3 August 2014 19:19 (four years ago) Permalink
Wasps Nest is one of my favorite albums but I've never really bothered with much else. I have the Wayward/Distant compilation that I bought after the 6ths but it didn't fall for it like Wasps Nest. Never heard 69 Love Songs. Maybe I should try. Would by a 30 7" box set ;)
― brotherlovesdub, Sunday, 3 August 2014 19:23 (four years ago) Permalink
we just need pomplamoose to cover a mag fields song and the circle will be complete
― ♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Sunday, 3 August 2014 20:27 (four years ago) Permalink
hahaha nm of course that exists already
― ♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Sunday, 3 August 2014 20:28 (four years ago) Permalink
― Erdős Number 9 Dream (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 3 August 2014 20:29 (four years ago) Permalink
On the subject of 'I', whilst I probably prefer '69', 'I' contains my two favourite MF tracks (I Don't Really Love You Anymore, I Thought You Were My Boyfriend).
― nxd, Monday, 4 August 2014 10:56 (four years ago) Permalink
Weird to think of "69LS" vs "post-69LS" as the division line here where to me it's clearly "pre-69LS" vs "69LS and after."
― Guayaquil (eephus!), Monday, 4 August 2014 11:58 (four years ago) Permalink
Yeah, that's what I said. Or synth-pop vs. Claudia singing a bunch and playing piano.
― Josh in Chicago, Monday, 4 August 2014 12:22 (four years ago) Permalink
Unlike so many performers these days, he doesn’t use Twitter or Instagram. His mom beat him to Facebook. “I can’t deal with the amount of work that would involve,” Mr. Merritt, 49, said. “I’m amazed that everyone else is willing to put in a part-time job worth of work in order to manage their social media accounts. I’m too busy playing Scrabble and Words With Friends.”
That habit has inspired a new book, “101 Two-Letter Words,” a collaboration with Roz Chast on a series of short poems and illustrations celebrating some of the shortest and strangest entries in the Scrabble dictionary.
Sample poem: “Ne is born, if you’re a man;/if you’re a woman, nee./It’s just like what a horse says,/but it’s spelt a different way.”
― curmudgeon, Saturday, 27 September 2014 17:47 (four years ago) Permalink
i've found that the magnetic fields are a tough sell for people around my age. their sensibility is too gen x maybe? or maybe they just aren't cool? whatever it is, i can't get people to the point where they grasp the point of the band, which is to rescue the old cliches about love from their own lameness by refusing to hide from it.
Weird. The Magnetic Fields were very popular on my small liberal arts college campus (2008-2012). Mostly 69 Love Songs.
― Allen (etaeoe), Saturday, 27 September 2014 22:00 (four years ago) Permalink
yeah a lot of people (myself included) loved that album but had little or no time for anything else he did before or since. it's like it's so sprawling and total, why would you need anything else by him.
― goth colouring book (anagram), Saturday, 27 September 2014 22:10 (four years ago) Permalink
because one of his other songs is this one
― Treeship, Saturday, 27 September 2014 22:14 (four years ago) Permalink
slick over twee, competency over complicated sentiment.
wait, thomp, is this describing the magnetic fields or the tastes of young listeners? because the magnetic fields is totally a twee band exploring complicated sentiments.
― Treeship, Saturday, 27 September 2014 22:19 (four years ago) Permalink
Poems I would most like to read from Merritt's book (I assume they're in there): "Qi," "Za," "Xu," "Ut" (any word that allows me to dump a "u" deserves its own poem), "Ba," "Bo," and "Bi." Cs and Vs, get your own book.
― clemenza, Saturday, 27 September 2014 22:41 (four years ago) Permalink
from that NY Times piece--
Okay:He also wears nothing but shades of brown because he thinks that black makes him look like a SoHo tourist and that it’s good when his clothes match his brown eyes.
hyperacusis in his left ear, which makes him especially sensitive to loud noise.
― curmudgeon, Sunday, 28 September 2014 13:31 (four years ago) Permalink
hyperacusis has been a thing w/ him for years. Didn't know he'd relocated to Hudson, NY tho.
― son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 2 October 2014 17:05 (four years ago) Permalink
he used to live a few blocks away from where i'm at (in those weird old apts from 'mulholland drive' iirc.)
― LIKE If you are against racism (omar little), Thursday, 2 October 2014 17:21 (four years ago) Permalink
― son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 2 October 2014 17:22 (four years ago) Permalink
I always wanted to meet him and then impress him by how cool/knowledgeable i am... so unlike those other fans who he unfairly seems to despise
― Treeship, Thursday, 2 October 2014 17:23 (four years ago) Permalink
i wd talk w/him about German films back in the day (silents to Fassbinder), but then Dick's Bar closed.
little or no time for anything else he did before or since. it's like it's so sprawling and total, why would you need anything else by him.
weird logic imho
― son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 2 October 2014 17:25 (four years ago) Permalink
When I saw them live I was uncomfortable with the way he talked to Claudia, who seemed like a kind person
― Treeship, Thursday, 2 October 2014 17:29 (four years ago) Permalink
oh that's (mostly) an act, they've polished it over the years
she is a tot sweetheart, truly
― son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 2 October 2014 17:30 (four years ago) Permalink
my wife is close friends with one of HIS close friends and all four of us had lunch together once. he's a good dude imo, he just likes to be a bit zingy.
― LIKE If you are against racism (omar little), Thursday, 2 October 2014 17:32 (four years ago) Permalink
that docufilm actually captured the Claud-Stephin dynamic pretty incisively i thought.
― son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 2 October 2014 17:42 (four years ago) Permalink
yeah it did.... i thought it was kind of sad. don't want to project too much but it seemed like she was in love with him.
― Treeship, Thursday, 2 October 2014 17:51 (four years ago) Permalink
imposing that fiction of star-crossed lovers, separated by sexual orientation, onto the story of the magnetic fields seemed fitting though. i read it as a possibly intentional thing
― Treeship, Thursday, 2 October 2014 17:53 (four years ago) Permalink
i see a mothering thing, somewhat
― son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 2 October 2014 17:59 (four years ago) Permalink
a friend who knows her calls her "the person without whom the band would never have gotten out of that basement in Cambridge"
― son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 2 October 2014 18:00 (four years ago) Permalink
little or no time for anything else he did before or since
I can't fathom not having Holiday in my life. It's essential.
― Johnny Fever, Thursday, 2 October 2014 20:54 (four years ago) Permalink
best thing i read on facebook today about magnetic fields:
"I think their music is Barenaked Ladies for people with vanity Masters degrees."
― scott seward, Tuesday, 5 January 2016 19:45 (two years ago) Permalink
I'm fan enough to say that poster is probably OTM (and also, LOL).
― Bitch I'm in the 2112 (cryptosicko), Tuesday, 5 January 2016 19:46 (two years ago) Permalink
Na. Although, as with xpost Randy Newman, I like the originals, love some of the covers---if this don't show, it's Kelly Hogan (with Mike Ireland) and the Pine Valley Cosmonauts (incl. some Mekons etc.) doing "Papa Was A Rodeo"---always good for blindfold tests:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KeO-LalG7k
― dow, Wednesday, 6 January 2016 16:50 (two years ago) Permalink
I can't make a comparison to Barenaked Ladies work. I only know "One Week" and "If I Had a Million Dollars", two incredibly corny, and not in a good way, songs.
― radiohead OK computer coca cola co KO (rip van wanko), Wednesday, 6 January 2016 17:24 (two years ago) Permalink
Yeah I mean just because their tweeness is easy to clown it doesn't exactly make them Pomplamoose or something. There is artistic merit.
― Evan, Wednesday, 6 January 2016 17:29 (two years ago) Permalink
you need to listen to more bnl, friend
― Cuombas (jim in glasgow), Wednesday, 6 January 2016 17:31 (two years ago) Permalink
perhaps you have been in Canada too long
― radiohead OK computer coca cola co KO (rip van wanko), Wednesday, 6 January 2016 17:32 (two years ago) Permalink
i think it's more of a quirky/nerdy thing. barenaked ladies could totally make this a new anthem:
― scott seward, Wednesday, 6 January 2016 18:01 (two years ago) Permalink
likewise, magnetic fields could make this into a suitable dirge:
― scott seward, Wednesday, 6 January 2016 18:03 (two years ago) Permalink
"I think their music is Barenaked Ladies for people with vanity Masters degrees."
oh my fucking god yes
― HYPERLINK TO RAP GENIUS (BradNelson), Wednesday, 6 January 2016 18:13 (two years ago) Permalink
i've always hated merritt and like a few bnl singles lol
― HYPERLINK TO RAP GENIUS (BradNelson), Wednesday, 6 January 2016 18:14 (two years ago) Permalink
"what a good boy" is a pretty good song about gender roles and dysphoria from 1992
― HYPERLINK TO RAP GENIUS (BradNelson), Wednesday, 6 January 2016 18:16 (two years ago) Permalink
oh I can just hear it
― rip van wanko, Wednesday, 6 January 2016 18:26 (two years ago) Permalink
― Le Bateau Ivre, Thursday, 17 November 2016 22:13 (one year ago) Permalink
anyone see the Brooklyn shows?
― Supercreditor (Dr Morbius), Monday, 5 December 2016 19:17 (one year ago) Permalink
A number of things have always put me off this obviously great music-- my own (justified) projection of ego-centricity on to Merritt, the obsessiveness of his tru fans, a couple of lousy shows, etc. But nothing put me off more than the fact that, late 90s and early 00s, his albums were full-price and yet felt and sounded cheap... there was this feeling of parsimony to the transaction of buying-and-consuming his music, like I was being grifted.
But these days I've been streaming it on Tidal and I kind of can't believe the breadth and scope of it all, all the subtle details that went into every track. And the feeling of being scammed has dissipated... it feels positively generous, for some reason. I can't think of many other artists whose work I can say I enjoy more in the streaming context than this band
― fgti is for (flamboyant goon tie included), Sunday, 7 October 2018 14:24 (one week ago) Permalink
That's really interesting. I've never considered the value proposition of music that way. Though there was a time when I tried to love albums more based on how much I paid (import albums costing $20 got my plays than used bin items).
For some artists, the original context of creation and release has added immensely to my appreciation and enjoyment, whereas with other removing that context is better. Magnetic Fields land in the latter for you.
― Gerald McBoing-Boing, Sunday, 7 October 2018 15:50 (one week ago) Permalink
Oh, for sure. I paid $30 for a bootleg Neu! CD when I was 19 and it felt like it was worth it. And I always enjoyed Magnetic Fields, there's just something about the thesis of it, compositionally and lyrically, that didn't mesh well with "paying $18-$20 for a 33 minute CD" (as I did for The Charm Of The Highway Strip). Or the inglorious expense of the 3CD 69 Love Songs boxset... which, iirc, at the time seemed like the music object that "only my more wealthy friends could afford". (Maybe this feeling was, at the time, coloured by the fact that I was buying up classic-after-classic Bowie albums at $10 a pop).
There was a discussion upthread about the thesis of this band (and Merritt's other projects) and it does seem to imply less of a "you are listening to an essential album when you listen to a Magnetic Fields album" experience and more of a sly-wink takes-the-entire-oeuvre-to-understand-it subversion of what albums are, what songs are, what lyrics are, when instrumentation is, and what emotions themselves are and how we describe them. OK I'm getting pretty babbly just gonna stop typing and hit it
― fgti is for (flamboyant goon tie included), Sunday, 7 October 2018 17:57 (one week ago) Permalink