Friday, February 05, 2010

We Are Having a Hootenanny

Song: We Are Having a Hootenanny
Artist: The Magnetic Fields
Album: Realism

It' hard to escape the charms of the Magnetic Fields' epic, twee, humorous, and charming "69 Love Songs," from 1999. Twenty-three tracks each on three discs, it was an achievement in quantity, but also quality, anything-goes, D.I.Y. songwriting and recording. I know nothing of the Fields' output before that album, but as you can imagine... that album was a LOT to sort through, and while the rewards were great... where does one go after releasing something so epic? Well, you continue the concepts... and post "Love Songs" the Fields tackled their "no-synth trilogy" which started with 2004's "i," continued with 2008's "Distortion," and ends with this year's "Realism."

I really loved "i," whose concept, at the time, seemed to only be that every song title started with the letter "i," and did not realize that the record did not have any synths or electronics on it. "Distortion" on the other hand... was unlistenable. Noise as a genre has never been enjoyable to me, and that's what it added up to. "Realism" on the other hand is lead Stephin Merritt's "folk album" as he describes it, and while it is a folk album from start to finish... the Fields' trademark charm and left-of-center pop melodies have been restored post "Distortion." It's all kinds of cute but yet... I can't help but miss the anything-goes free-wheeling of "69 Love Songs." Maybe I should let it go.

Apparently an all-synth record is on the way, so we will see what the future holds for the Magnetic Fields. I will certainly be listening.


You Must Be Out of Your Mind

Everything is One Big Christmas Tree

Walk a Lonely Road

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