This post was originally part of an email conversation. Read here for more details.
by Jonathon Odom
From: Jonathan Odom
Sent: 15 July 2008 18:22
To: Ben Smith
Cc: Maple, Nicholas; John Klein; Bradbeer, Alexander; Chris Stoneman
Subject: RE: Musical Journey : The Magnetic Fields
A logical step after Arcade Fire because they’ve seriously emulated this band on every record, virtually every song (and paid the proper homage I might add). I don’t know the numbers, but these guys have to be one of the most prolific songwriting bands in history. In my opinion Stephen Merrit (lead singer) is a far better lyricist than John Lennon and Paul McCartney combined, I think the only person who rivals him is Bob Dylan. Absolutely incredible, naive, imaginative and captivating lyrics.
In the same way Quentin Tarantino shamelessly jumps from genre to genre (often within the same film), these guys create non-linear histories of music with their records. In a lot of cases you get the feeling the sounds and production techniques don’t matter at all, they’re just ideas for songs, why go overboard in the studio when you get the point after one day of work on it? Other times they make incredibly complex soundscapes.
1. Get Lost – ‘Love Is Lighter Than Air’ : amazing melody, good atmospheric pop song. ‘All The Umbrellas In London’ : one of my all time favorite songs.
2. Pieces of April- ‘Epitaph for my Heart’ : super-simple, penetrating vocals, uber-cool melody. ‘You You You You You’: if I heard this song when I was 16, I would have been a total fag and sung this to the girl I wanted to date.
3. 69 Love Songs- Stephin Merrit actually wrote 69 songs and made them into one of the all time greatest american records in less than a year (unprecedented). ‘Absolutely Cuckoo’ : super-weird repeating motif and great lyrics. ‘The Death Of Ferdinand De Saussure’ : who writes a pop song about a french linguist? ‘I Shatter’: I’m speechless on this one. ‘Grand Canyon’: Johnny Cash on acid in outer space. ‘Love Is Like a Bottle of Gin’ : but a bottle of gin is not like love… ‘Long-Forgotten Fairytale’: in my top 10 songs of all time, pushes the limits of pop. ‘When My Boy Walks Down The Street’: coolest bassline since ‘Lust For Life’. ‘Yeah! Oh, Yeah!’ : ballad about killing your wife.