A blog devoted to the works of Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields, The 6ths, Future Bible Heroes, The Gothic Archies, et al. This blog will feature news related to his work, as well as occasional fanboy gushes from the author. Thank you for stopping by, and may all your dreams come true.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


So, since its leak, people have been babbling about Realism left and right.  Awesomely, I've yet to read a negative review (though I expect some naysayers to jump the gun like they did with i and Distortion before this).  Not a lot of professional reviews in quite yet, but a quick Twitter search will show a damn happy public, not to mention the good things being said on the mailing list.  Good news.

Plus, there is this really good, mostly spoiler-free review (some stuff about "From A Sinking Boat" is revealed, but is still left pretty vague, for those few crazies like me who don't want to hear until the 26th).  You can also find previews of the tracks "Seduced and Abandoned" and "You Must Be Out Of Your Mind."  I refuse to listen to any more tracks until the 26th, so I must admit to my general shittiness as a blogger and deny my right to comment on them.  If you're interested, though, and have resisted the leak thus far, the previews are there for you.

All I can say is that my excitement is somehow continually increasing, even after reaching what felt like its maximum potential.  For you leak-users, I hope you're enjoying the album, and I hope you support Mr. Merritt by buying a copy or seeing him on tour.  Love the songs like I plan on loving them, good sirs and madams.


  1. Great review. I especially agree that this album, more than any other Magnetic Fields album, recalls older material. It's a real sampling of Merritt's (non-synth) output. I found it at different times evocative of Wayward Bus, Get Lost, 69 Love Songs, Peach Blossom Fan, and The Tragic Treasury.

    I believe this was intentional on Stephin's part, with his use of multiple vocalists, Sam Davol's distinct cello, and reinviting Johny Blood on tuba. Viewed this way, his inclusion of the 80s-written "Dada Polka" is no surprise either.

    In my opinion it's a much stronger collection of songs than "Distortion", and without the self-imposed production limits of that album, it's a more enjoyable experience.

    I hope that was appropriately vague!

    One error I noted in the review is that it is Shirley Simms, not Claudia Gonson, who sings Interlude.

  2. Thanks a lot for the words, David! Your mini-review (which, I might add, reminds me of your work over at Music Arcades, which I adore (if this is, in fact, Mr. Jennings, as I have assumed)) excites me even more than the review in question. A nostalgic Merritt seems atypical, to say the least, but also very tantalizing. It seems impossible for this album to disappoint at this point!

    And, I had assumed that Ms. Simms was responsible for "Interlude," as Nonesuch only mentions Ms. Gonson singing "The Doll's Tea Party." People confused the two ladies when Distortion came out as well, and this continues to befuddle me. Does the voice on "Zebra" sound anything like the voice on "Xavier Says?" Methinks not.

    Thanks again for the great review, good sir.

  3. Would that I could take credit for the fantastic 69 Love Songs wiki, but alas, I am not the same David. I'm Nicholas David (of recent Nick-with-no-last-name fame). Sorry for the confusion!

    Your excitement for this album, however, is not misplaced.

  4. AH! Excuse my idiocy, sir, I just assumed. All I had was David and SM-fan and jumped to the conclusion.

    Either way, your words are appreciated! And, no "alas" is necessary. Thank you for commenting, kind sir, you're just as welcome as any other David.