Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Magnetic Fields - Holiday (1999) (320)

Although in recent years my tastes have been veering steadily away from the indie tinge which initially got me interested in collecting music, the magnificent hazy pop of The Magnetic Fields has remained one of few true constants of my last decade or so of listenership. It's hard to explain why I love them so much to people with otherwise compatible tastes to mine. It might be the darkly clever lyrics from Stephin Merritt, the bouncing synths and folky arrangements and everything in between, the queer sensibility, or their explicit love affair with concept albums and misery. Maybe it's just that they've been there for me, forever. Whatever it is, they rule.

Holiday is an album which I came around to track by track until I started playing it in my car for long rides to New Jersey and found that it really is a perfect road album. Songs to hook the first time listener might be "Torn Green Velvet Eyes" or "Strange Powers", with opening lines typical of Merritt's wacky analogy style: "On a ferris wheel, looking out on Coney Island/ Under more stars than there are prostitutes in Thailand". Pete and Pete fans will recognize the blurry synth loop of "The Flowers She Sent And The Flowers She Said She Sent", and I know more than a handful of people who might cry when "Take Ecstasy With Me" comes on at the right moment. The whole album is golden if eclectic, and it bears repeated listening. Maybe the Fields aren't for everyone, I don't know, but I'd like to press this record into the hands of everyone that they might get a taste for the greatest indie pop (ugh, the phrase even hurts to type) songs of our time.


1. BBC Radiophonic Workshop
2. Desert Island
3. Deep Sea Diving Suit
4. Strange Powers
5. Torn Green Velvet Eyes
6. The Flowers She Sent And The Flowers She Said She Sent
7. Swinging London
8. In My Secret Place
9. Sad Little Moon
10. The trouble I've Been Looking For
11. Sugar World
12. All You Ever Do Is Walk Away
13. In My Car
14. Take Ecstasy With Me


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