mon 19/04/2021

Magnetic Fields, Variety music? | reviews, news & interviews

Magnetic Fields, Variety music?

Magnetic Fields, Variety music?

Stephin Merritt, a post-modern Cole Porter, writes songs about love-songs

Magnetic Fields: Heart-breaking songs about heart-breaking songs

If music writers love to place artists in genres, it is a more-than-usually fruitless task with Magnetic Fields, the brainchild of “composer, multi-instrumentalist and bubblegum purist” Stephin Merritt. Many people discovered Magnetic Fields (named after the surrealist André Breton’s novel Les Champs Magnetiques) with their 3-CD box set 69 Songs, which was released in 1999. The titles themselves suggested some of his musical playgrounds, such as “Punk Love”, “Love is Like Jazz” or “World Love”. Others referred sometimes obliquely to Billie Holliday, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Fleetwood Mac or Irving Berlin. Merritt said that the album “was not remotely an album about love. It’s an album about love songs, which are very far away from anything to do with love”.

If music writers love to place artists in genres, it is a more-than-usually fruitless task with Magnetic Fields, the brainchild of “composer, multi-instrumentalist and bubblegum purist” Stephin Merritt. Many people discovered Magnetic Fields (named after the surrealist André Breton’s novel Les Champs Magnetiques) with their 3-CD box set 69 Songs, which was released in 1999. The titles themselves suggested some of his musical playgrounds, such as “Punk Love”, “Love is Like Jazz” or “World Love”. Others referred sometimes obliquely to Billie Holliday, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Fleetwood Mac or Irving Berlin. Merritt said that the album “was not remotely an album about love. It’s an album about love songs, which are very far away from anything to do with love”.

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