Realism

Realism

4.0 1
by Magnetic Fields
     
 

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All it takes is a few seconds into Realism's familiar first track (the warm, wily, and weary "You Must Be out of Your Mind") to jump to the conclusion that Magnetic Fields mastermind Stephin Merritt has simply run out of musical motifs with which to embed his seemingly endless supply of biting, bittersweet lyrics. Happily,See more details below

Overview

All it takes is a few seconds into Realism's familiar first track (the warm, wily, and weary "You Must Be out of Your Mind") to jump to the conclusion that Magnetic Fields mastermind Stephin Merritt has simply run out of musical motifs with which to embed his seemingly endless supply of biting, bittersweet lyrics. Happily, that's not the case, as the remaining 12 songs on Realism show significant musical growth for one of pop music's greatest corner bar-, heartbreak-, and sarcasm-obsessed napkin poets. The antithesis of 2008's noisy Distortion, Realism revels in folk music in a way that hasn't appeared on a Magnetic Fields album since 1990's Distant Plastic Trees. The songs sound just like their titles would suggest, with "We Are Having a Hootenanny" doing just that, "The Doll's Tea Party" conjuring up images of pastoral English gardens, and "Seduced and Abandoned" suggesting the wee hours of a Tin Pan Alley cabaret. Merritt, who wields a voice that has grown from that of a disheartened, mumbling wallflower to a classy, full-throated baritone, peppers each tune (as well as those sung by the lovely Claudia Gonson) with the usual witticisms ("I want you crawling back to me/Down on your knees/Like an appendectomy"), but there's an elegance to his prose this time around that suggests there's not only a musical sea change at work. By far his most listenable and fully realized work since 1999's mammoth 69 Love Songs, Realism feels slight because it is. It's hard to hear someone so adept with a poison pen preen instead of brood, but it's also rewarding. In the end, longtime fans will want to go back to the opening cut and seek out the comfort of those familiar first three chords that, like a seasoned bluesman with his E to A to B, have become synonymous with their creator, but hopefully, they'll decide to take another trip through the countryside, soak in some much needed sun, and let bygones be bygones.

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Product Details

Release Date:
01/26/2010
Label:
Nonesuch
UPC:
0075597982190
catalogNumber:
519594
Rank:
220994

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. You Must Be Out of Your Mind  -  Magnetic Fields
  2. Interlude  -  Magnetic Fields
  3. We Are Having a Hootenanny  -  Magnetic Fields
  4. I Don't Know What To Say  -  Magnetic Fields
  5. The Dolls' Tea Party  -  Magnetic Fields
  6. Everything is One Big Christmas Tree  -  Magnetic Fields
  7. Walk a Lonely Road  -  Magnetic Fields
  8. Always Already Gone  -  Magnetic Fields
  9. Seduced and Abandoned  -  Magnetic Fields
  10. Better Things  -  Magnetic Fields
  11. Painted Flower  -  Magnetic Fields
  12. The Dada Polka  -  Magnetic Fields
  13. From a Sinking Boat  -  Magnetic Fields

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Magnetic Fields   Primary Artist
Sam Davol   Cello
Ida Pearle   Violin
John Woo   Banjo,Sitar,cuatro
Claudia Gonson   Piano,Tabla,Vocals,Cajon
Daniel Handler   Accordion,Vocals
Shirley Simms   Violin,Vocals
Johny Blood   Tuba,Flugelhorn,Vocals

Technical Credits

Stephin Merritt   Composer
Marcelo Krasilcic   Band Photo
Claudia Gonson   Management
Jeff Lipton   Mastering
Charles Newman   Engineer,Additional Production
Shirley Simms   Engineer
JJ Beck   Engineer
Ryan Nielson   Engineer
Michael English   Logo

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