It all began innocently enough. I was catching up on some NPR and checked out their Valentine's Day Music Poll results, which included a link to several songs about the different aspects of love.
"I Don't Want to Get Over You" from the Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs, Vol. 1 was the entry on Longing, Angst and Hope.
I don't want to get over you.I'm thinking I need to hear some more Magnetic Fields after this review. (And that I need to meet the reviewer.)
I guess I could take a sleeping pill and sleep at will and not have to go through what I go through.
I guess I should take Prozac, right, and just smile all night at somebody new,
Somebody not too bright but sweet and kind who would try to get you off my mind.
I could leave this agony behind which is just what I'd do if I wanted to, but I don't want to get over you cause I don't want to get over love.
I could listen to my therapist, pretend you don't exist and not have to dream of what I dream of;
I could listen to all my friends and go out again and pretend it's enough, or I could make a career of being blue--
I could dress in black and read Camus, smoke clove cigarettes and drink vermouth like I was 17 that would be a scream but I don't want to get over you.
I suspect a certain worldview is required to fully enjoy this album, the major component of which is an almost preternatural attraction to the weird and excessive. Fortunately I have that in spades, so when a drunken friend (in whose tastes I have great faith - he recommended Pulp and Six Feet Under, after all) mentioned this doozy, I was intrigued enough to go out and buy it.
First of all, this album achieves two reasonably important things: it delivers exactly what it promises, and it does so with an almost frightening consistency. Any album with just shy of three full hours of music is bound to have some filler, but there's almost nothing here that doesn't work on at least some level, and a good third of the songs are actually great. That's more than some bands achieve in an entire career.
Musically speaking, this is a low-fi, indie pop album (read: it sounds like it was recorded in a basement - and that's a virtue).
Stephen Merritt covers all this in a pleasant, ever-so-slightly slurred croon and with a pervasive sense of wry, somewhat self-deprecating humor.
So, conclusions: I watch a lot of tv, and I listen to a lot of music. The former has miniaturized my attention span to that of a hyperactive squirrel and the latter has made me that much harder to impress. Yet I was not only able to sit down and listen to this entire album in one sitting, I was singing along (or trying to) by the second song on disc one. While it's true that this may not sit quite as comfortably on someone else's palate, odds are if you like pop music at all, you'll find at least a handful of tracks you'll like. And that's kind of the point - there's something for everyone. It's worth paying the price even if you end up distilling it down to one mixtape after a few listens.