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Stephin Merritt

Best known as the mastermind behind the Magnetic Fields, singer/songwriter Stephin Merritt has juggled multiple projects throughout his career, releasing a string of acclaimed albums with the Magnetic Fields while also working as a solo artist, a magazine journalist, and a member of several different bands. Raised by his countercultural mother, he spent much of his youth moving from house to house throughout the Northeast. It was during that time that Merritt became enamored with Top 40 pop, specifically ABBA. His interest in music began to take on a physical form at the age of 14, when he made his first recordings with a cheap synthesizer and an old four-track recorder. That sound -- a blend of electronics and lo-fi pop -- still captivated the artist in later years, prompting him to form the Magnetic Fields in 1989. Based in Boston, the group initially resembled a solo project more than an actual band, with Merritt playing all the instruments himself. Claudia Gonson, who'd played with Merritt during the pair's high-school days, eventually signed on as drummer and manager, and the band's membership swelled during the 1990s. The Magnetic Fields released numerous records during that decade and earned the most acclaim with 1999's 69 Love Songs, an epic three-disc set that catapulted Merritt out of the underground and into the upper crust of indie pop.

Meanwhile, he released material with other groups like the 6ths, the Future Bible Heroes, and the Gothic Archies, almost all of which featured Merritt as the prime (if not only) member. Putting his talent as a wordsmith to another use, he also served as a copyeditor at Spin and wrote reviews for Time Out magazine in New York. Music proved to be Merritt's bread and butter, though, and he provided the soundtrack to the James Bolton film Eban & Charley in 2002, followed by his first proper solo release, which was titled Two Chinese Operas and issued under his own name in 2005. Showtunes followed in 2006, featuring selected compositions written for Chen Shi-Zheng's Orphan of Zhao (2003), Peach Blossom Fan (2004), and My Life as a Fairy Tale (2005). The Magnetic Fields continued releasing new music, too, having left the band's previous label, Merge Records, to sign with Nonesuch during the early 21st century. Not altogether willing to part with the band, Merge reached into its own archives for Obscurities, a 2011 compilation that included rarities and unreleased tracks from the band's early days. ~ James Christopher Monger & Andrew Leahey
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Obscurities

1. Forever And A Day

2. Rats In The Garbage Of The Western World

5. Rot In The Sun

6. The Sun And The Sea And The Sky

7. Yet Another Girl

8. Scream (`Till You Make The Scene)

9. The Song From Venus

10. Beach-A-Boop-Boop

11. When I'm Not Looking, You're Not There

13. When You're Young And In Love

14. You Are Not My Mother And I Want To Go Home

x

Track List: Showtunes

1. Theme From "The Orphan Of Zhao"

2. At Madam Plum's

3. The Top And The Ball

4. What A F*cking Lovely Day!

5. Auntie Toothache

6. It's Hard To Be The Emperor

7. Sounds Expensive

8. The Red Shoes

9. Fan Dance Cha-Cha

10. The Little Maiden Of The Sea

11. Ukulele Me!

12. Train Song

13. The Little Hebrew Girl

14. Shall We Sing A Duet?

15. The Song Of The Humble Serf

16. The Collar And The Garter

17. Shall We Sing A Duet? Reprise

18. Sorry, Wrong Show

19. The Storks

20. In The Spring, When I Was Young

21. The Ugly Little Duck

22. And He Would Say...

23. The World Is Not Made Of Flowers

24. Behold The Lowly Centipede

25. In China, Said The Moon...

26. Hail! Son Of Heaven

x

Track List: Pieces Of April: Music From The Motion Picture Soundtrack

1. All I Want To Know

2. As You Turn To Go

3. Dreams Anymore

4. Epitaph For My Heart

5. Heather Heather

6. I Think I Need A New Heart

7. One April Day

8. Stray With Me

9. The Luckiest Guy On The Lower East Side

10. You You You You You

x

Track List: Eban & Charley: Original Soundtrack

1. Mother

2. Cricket Problem

3. Some Summer Day

5. Poppyland

6. Drowned Sailors

7. Maria Maria Maria

8. Titles

9. This Little Ukulele

10. Tea Party

12. Mother Remembered

14. Water Torture

16. Stage Rain

Comments

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very interesting( - _ - )
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A no talent hack
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i love him
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What on earth is up with The Little Hebrew Girl? It's either ironic or disgustingly anti-Semetic .
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P.U. Wallpaper--T h a t was an amazing job he did on NPR. I just wonder when he'll release Man of a Million Faces (or whatever he decided to call it). I'm tired of just watching it on Youtube, and it's such an amazing song, like most of his.
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Merrit did a two day song writing challenge for NPR. I enjoyed watching it. It is probably avaible thru the NPR search engine.

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