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Magnetic Fields, the / I
Album:I Collection:General
Artist:Magnetic Fields, the Added:08/2004
Label:Nonesuch Records 

A-File Activity
Add Date:2004-08-23 Pull Date:2004-10-25 
Week Ending:24 Oct17 Oct10 Oct3 Oct26 Sep19 Sep12 Sep5 Sep
Airplays:33152336

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Album Review
Murray
Reviewed 2004-08-18 
Romantic Broadway-musical queer chamber pop. Lots of strings, piano, banjo. Solo male voice plus some female backing vocals. Delicate and sparse. Whimsical or poignant… or both at once. Fascinating arrangements. Fantastically subtle and multileveled lyrics. Each song a short story. Beauty revealed in angst, melancholy, and emotional blindness. i is Stephin Merritt's first album as The Magnetic Fields (five years on) since his epic 69 Love Songs. About the LP title: every song title starts with the letter "I"; at least three mention "infinity." Liner notes proudly declare "no synths." Listen in heartbreak or in love and this record sounds great. Every song is amazing. Album of the year candidate. Play based on mood; otherwise, start with 2, 5, 8, 14. No FCC violations. Overtly queer songs are 5, 7.

1. Sadness. Slow, starts with strings. Very sparse and delicate. "Having forgotten how to cry, I die."
==> 2. Defiance. Mid-tempo. Guitar, strings, drums, piano. "So you quote love unquote me… I don't believe you."
3. Unrequited love & denial. Mid-tempo, happy melody. Guitars, strings, drums. "Think of me as just your fan who remembers every dress you ever wore…."
4. Blindness & melancholy. Slow. Strummed banjo, strings, pianos. "I looked all over town."
==> 5. Pride. Mid-tempo. Chamber disco (available as a single). "Get wise, I thought you were my boyfriend."
6. Introspection & self-hate. Slow. Bells, strings. Quiet & sparse. "Growing older is killing a child who laughed and smiled at anything."
7. Evil. Mid-tempo, bouncy percussion & piano. "I wish I had an evil twin running 'round and doing people in."
==> 8. Joy & neediness. "When I was 2½ my mother said to me, 'Love is funny, you will laugh, until the day you turn 3.'"
9. Intoxication. Slow and lolling. Guitars, drums, silence, bells. "You kiss me, I'm history. I'm tongue-tied and useless again."
10. Genteelness & whimsy. Mid-tempo. Harpsichord, strings, and background harmonies.
11. Mystery & loneliness. Slow and dark, quiet and soporific. "The stars are still out there but they're all out of light." Kurt Weill-esque.
12. Ennui & absurdity. Slow. Banjos, strings, piano. "Father's jeep crashes through Irma's wall."
13. Sick in love. Slow. Piano & string bass. "In the ninth circle of this hell, my heart is burning and unwell." Kurt Weill again.
==> 14. Love. Mid-tempo. Full ensemble. Background harmonies. A tear jerker. "I'll walk your lands and swim your sea. Marry me."

Track Listing
1.I Die 8.If There's Such a Thing As L
2.I Don't Believe You 9.I'm Tongue-Tied
3.I Don't Really Love You Anym 10.In An Operetta
4.I Looked All Over Town 11.Infinitely Late at Night
5.I Thought You Were My Boyfri 12.Irma
6.I Was Born 13.Is this What They Used to Ca
7.I Wish I Had An Evil Twin 14.It's Only Time