Tragic Realism

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stewart Mason
"I wouldn't cry if you were run over by a train/But I might just laugh if the train cut you in half/And spread your brains like lime jello all over the track/You won't be coming back" is quite possibly the single most brutal opening verse to a breakup song ever, but by the end of the debut album by LD & the New Criticism, that jaunty little kiss-off, "Elegy for an Ex," sounds par for the course. LD is LD Beghtol, likely best known as an adjunct member of Stephin Merritt's Magnetic Fields. Another member of the Magnetic Fields orbit is Daniel Handler, far better known as best-selling children's book author Lemony Snicket, and Tragic Realism sounds like Beghtol shares ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stewart Mason
"I wouldn't cry if you were run over by a train/But I might just laugh if the train cut you in half/And spread your brains like lime jello all over the track/You won't be coming back" is quite possibly the single most brutal opening verse to a breakup song ever, but by the end of the debut album by LD & the New Criticism, that jaunty little kiss-off, "Elegy for an Ex," sounds par for the course. LD is LD Beghtol, likely best known as an adjunct member of Stephin Merritt's Magnetic Fields. Another member of the Magnetic Fields orbit is Daniel Handler, far better known as best-selling children's book author Lemony Snicket, and Tragic Realism sounds like Beghtol shares Handler's pitch-black sense of humor. All 16 songs on Tragic Realism are about death, in a wide variety of unpleasant fashions, and all of them are as dryly funny and philosophically bleak as vintage Dorothy Parker. The sense of humor extends to the artwork: the album's elaborate liner notes are structured like a college lit. textbook, complete with an extensive critical essay (by noted horror author Peter Straub, no less) and helpful guides to the recurrent themes and symbols in the album's lyrics. Musically, the Magnetic Fields are clearly the primary influence, both their early days as a minimalist synth outfit with Phil Spector fantasies, and the later 69 Love Songs era where Merritt and his associates created a form of 21st century chamber pop. Fans of that brand of ironic but affectionate twee indie pop and snarky smart-arses everywhere will be sure to enjoy this one.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/15/2005
  • Label: Darla Records
  • UPC: 708527016923
  • Catalog Number: 169
  • Sales rank: 316,724

Album Credits

Performance Credits
LD & the New Criticism Primary Artist
Jonathan Segel Violin
Hadley Kahn Drums
Douglas Quint Bassoon, Group Member
L.D. Beghtol Organ, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Glockenspiel, Hammond Organ, Tambourine, Ukulele, Vocals, Xylophone, Snare Drums, sleigh bells, finger cymbals, Floor Tom, Casio, Handbells, Toy Piano, Toy Xylophone, Baritone Ukulele, Group Member
Shirley Simms Vocals, Background Vocals
Jorge Morales Choir, Chorus
Kenny Mellman Piano, Hammond Organ
Ernest Adzentoivich Bass, Upright Bass, 5-string Bass
Kendall Meade Background Vocals
Doug Hilsinger Banjo, Pedal Steel Guitar, Electric Guitar
Andrew Whitehead Choir, Chorus
Jim Andralis Accordion, Background Vocals, Choir, Chorus, Train Whistle, Group Member
Clint Asay Choir, Chorus
Jim Bentley Bass, Electric Guitar, Washboard
Ashley Bogard Choir, Chorus
Ben Caron Tap Dance
Chris Ehrmann Choir, Chorus
Cynthia Focht Choir, Chorus
Full Gospel Tabernacle Choir Of Bushwick Choir, Chorus
Isotoners Background Vocals
Larry Krone Choir, Chorus
Ben Lerman Choir, Chorus
Colleen McHale Choir, Chorus
Kermit Medsker Background Vocals, Choir, Chorus
Jonathan "Chuck" Plummer Acoustic Guitar, Mandolin, Background Vocals, Guitar (Baritone), Group Member
Pinky Weitzman Violin, Viola, Group Member
Technical Credits
Peter Straub Liner Notes
L.D. Beghtol Arranger, Composer, Producer
Jorge Colombo Contributor
Jim Bentley Engineer, Mastering
Joe Orton Author
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    HAPPY DEATH SONGS!

    Most people only know LD Beghtol via “guilt by association” with his pal Stephin Merritt - Beghtol sang on the Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs, and he and Merritt have performed as The Three Terrors from time to time with fellow New Yorker, Dudley Klute. Now, perhaps, more of the pop-lovin' world will know him for his own mordant wit, supple melodies, and terriffic sense of style. This debut from his new, deeply-literate, rather countrified band, LD & the New Criticism, is full of catchy, singalong songs that slip into your inner ear almost unaware, later to flower into memorable favorites - even as the bodies (in his songs, that is) pile up. Yeah, most of them are about murder, suicide, broken hearts and other hardships, but with Beghtol bad times never sounded so damned good. Excellent musicianship abounds, and aside from the new swagger Beghtol's voice obtains here (historically, he's more of a crooner in his bands Flare and Moth Wranglers, and on 69LS), guest stars like Doug Hilsinger and Kenny Mellman as well as newcomers Pinky Weitzman and Jim Andralis play in a style my Grandma used to call "hell for leather." For fans for The Handsome Family, TMF at their most hoe-down, Nick Cave, Gram Parsons and the Carter Family. C'mon everybody, get TRAGIC!

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