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The Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt on World Cafe | May 31, 2012

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The Magnetic Fields' music provides one of several outlets for frontman Stephin Merritt's inspired songwriting. The band began recording a string of eclectic albums in 1993, and finally found mainstream recognition with 1999's three-disc 69 Love Songs. Merritt focused mostly on side projects until 2004's i, which did not include any synths — a trend which continued with 2008's guitar-heavy Distortion and 2010's Realism. Singing clever and emotive lyrics with a deep and resonant voice, Merritt playfully explores both dramatic events and everyday trifles.

The band returns to its classic synth-pop style with the release of Love at the Bottom of the Sea. In this World Café session, Merritt discusses his relationship with the band and describes The Magnetic Fields as his musicians rather than accompanists or collaborators. Merritt also describes his recent U.S. tour and his personal distaste for touring in general. Shedding light on his songwriting process — and explaining his distaste for touring — Merritt says he prefers to write songs in a "dimly lit atmosphere surrounded by disco music and drunks." (link)


(( )) for interlude music


The Wallflowers "Three Marlenas" Bringing Down the Horse
White Rabbits "Temporary" Milk Famous
Andrew Bird "Eyeoneye" Break It Yourself
Ryan Adams "Lucky Now" Ashes & Fire
Randy Newman "Baltimore" Little Criminals
((Peter Gabriel "The Book of Love" Scratch my Back))
The Magnetic Fields "Andrew In Drag" Recorded Live for the World Cafe
The Magnetic Fields "I Die" Recorded Live for the World Cafe
The Magnetic Fields "The Book of Love" Recorded Live for the World Cafe
The Magnetic Fields "The Little Ukulele" Recorded Live for the World Cafe
((Magnetic Fields "I Die" Recorded Live for the World Cafe))
Father John Misty "I'm Writing a Novel" Fear Fun
World Party "Ship of Fools" Private Revolution
Zeus "Are You Gonna Waste My Time" Busting Visions
The Head & The Heart "Lost In My Mind" The Head & The Heart
Steve Earle "Galway Girl" Transcendental Blues
((The Horse's Ha "Map of Stars" Of the Cathmawr Years))


Steely Dan "King of the World" Countdown to Ecstasy
The Lumineers "Ho Hey" The Lumineers
Crosby, Stills & Nash "49 Bye-Byes" Crosby, Stills & Nash
John Mayer "Queen of California" Born & Raised
The Walkmen "Heaven" Heaven
St. Vincent "Cruel" Strange Mercy
((Tego Calderon "Pegaito a la Pared" Pegaito a la Pared))
Nore "Oye Mi Canto" 1 Fan a Day
Tego Calderon "Pegaito a la Pared" Pegaito a la Pared 'The Remixes'
((Nore "Oye Mi Canto" Oye Mi Canto))
Polica "Dark Star" Give You the Ghost
Grant Lee Buffalo "Fuzzy" Fuzzy
The Black Keys "Dead and Gone" El Camino
Asie Payton "I Love You" Big Bad Love Soundtrack
((The Ponys "Harakiri" Turn the Lights Out))