Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Music With Merritt

This week's SOTW salutes America's most clever songwriter-lyricist, Stephen Merritt (far left), represented by the infectious "Too Drunk To Dream." Merritt has assembled an extraordinary songbook through his main vehicle, The Magnetic Fields (immediate left), and through other projects such as Future Bible Heroes and The Sixths. Merritt's deep, droll voice are perfect for his balance of cynicism and vulnerability; he's the intersection of burned fingers, a hungry heart, and a sharp tongue... Icing on the cake: he's gay, 40-something, and enamored of synthesizers..

Classic Merritt titles: "(It's A Good Thing) I Don't Have Any Feelings," "I Thought You Were My Boyfriend," "(My Heart's Like) A Chicken With Its Head Cut Off..."

Favorite Merritt couplet:

"In Las Vegas where the electric bills are staggering;
the decor, hog wild and the entertainment, saccharine;
What a golden age, what a time of right and reason;
the consumer's king, and unhappiness is treason

and I can't sleep / 'cause you've got strange powers
you're in my dreams... stranger powers'
- from 'Strange Powers'

More examples of Merritt-ian cleverness:

"Eligible, not too stupid
Intelligible, and cute as Cupid
knowledgable, but not always right,
salvageable, and free for the night"

- 'Chicken With It's Head Cut Off', from '69 Love Songs'

"Since you went away / it's nighttime all day
and it's usually raining, too "
- 'I Don't Believe In the Sun," also from '69 Love Songs'

Merritt's been skimpy with videos; there's nothing recent, so we offer here some older Merritt clips:

'Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits':

Magnetic Fields live: 'Swinging London':

Finally, a fan video mixing 'I Thought You Were My Boyfriend' with scenes from 'The Office':

Cartoon du Jour:

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