Tag: Stephin Merritt

  • Navigating Stephin Merritt’s Many Shades of Dry

    Should you ever get a chance to interview Stephin Merritt—and I imagine that we all deserve to one of these days—his publicist will explain that when he answers a question, he will take a long pause, answer in a complete thought, take another lengthy pause, and issue a follow-up. It is vitally important that you […]

  • The Magnetic Fields

    Now in their third decade of mutating indie and electro pop into extravagant, concise, and witty post-Broadway showstoppers, the Magnetic Fields just put out their 11th LP, Love at the Bottom of the Sea. On it, Stephin Merritt remains in fine form, having composed imaginative songs about a straight man falling in love with a […]

  • The Stephin Merritt Mystery Unsolved in Strange Powers

    Demanding of recognition but ever pushing back at attention, Stephin Merritt is a droopy-eyed Marlon Brando of art pop. A notoriously difficult interview, the singer-songwriter is prone to epic pauses and blank stares, and even his shyness can come across as condescension, which makes him a rough subject for a documentary profile. Yet that dissonance […]

  • Feigning Sincerity With the Magnetic Fields

    These days, the once-revolutionary Concept Album is a bit of a joke, but Stephin Merritt, leader of metamorphic indie-pop group the Magnetic Fields, is so fond of the form that he dabbles in Concept Bands. His Gothic Archies recorded two albums of ostentatiously grim synth dirges, while the 6ths assigned the songwriter’s dolorous tunes to […]

  • Greenspan and Merritt’s Coraline Does Gaiman Proud

    Sometimes the price you pay for freshness is that it comes to you a little scruffy, a little rough around the edges. And if the scruffiness suggests points that could be tidied up, it also adds an extra enhancement: The imperfection is part of the charm, like a child’s stubborn cowlick or snaggle-toothed smile. Which […]

  • Stephin Merritt and David Greenspan Conjure an Unusual Tuner for Coraline

    “When I am dictator,” intones Stephin Merritt in his distinctive dour baritone, “compulsive homosexuality will remove the problem of children. Soon, I will be dictator. Until then, small children should not come to Coraline.” Merritt—the pop genius behind the Magnetic Fields and numberless side projects (the Gothic Archies, the 6ths, the Three Terrors, etc.)—has supplied […]

  • Interview: Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt

      “I want my shoes. Destroy the world. Goodbye.”   Photo by Chris Buck Stephin Merritt, the musician behind ventures as diverse as the Magnetic Fields and the Lemony Snicket audiobooks, is having a good year. The Magnetic Fields’ eighth studio album, Distortion, a twisted, feedback drenched homage to the Jesus and Mary Chain’s Psychocandy, […]


    M83’s newish Saturdays=Youth (first single: “Graveyard Girl”) reminds me of the Magnetic Fields’ newish Distortion (first single: “California Girls”)—and not just because both bands are named after natural phenomena (a galaxy in the constellation Hydra, in the case of M83). Both employ the same gauzy, JAMC/Cocteau Twins production swirl to swaddle songs about being young […]


    Taking the Jesus and Mary Chain’s Psychocandy as his inspiration, Magnetic Fields honcho and beloved misanthrope Stephin Merritt fed back every instrument (even the accordion) on his recent Distortion, layering each track under blankets of fuzzy reverb and creating a most frosty collection of songs with familiar Fields subject matter: self-loathing, unrequited love, and the […]

  • Misanthropic Fields Forever

    Ethan Frome. Terrible book. You probably read it in high school. Edith Wharton’s oh-so-bleak novella—set in Starkfield (how very unsubtle), Massachusetts— tells the tale of its doomed titular “hero,” who, in an effort to “do the right thing,” marries Zeena, the woman who nursed his mother on her deathbed. But after he’s married, Ethan falls […]