Stephin Merritt

Magnetic Fields frontman Stephin Merritt is in town next Tuesday, May 12, on the home stretch of a rare multicity tour. Most recently heard with side gig Future Bible Heroes (and on the score of This American Life), he’s still best known for his work with Magnetic Fields, whose album 69 Love Songs is (gasp!) 16 years old this year.

We hearken back to those halcyon days with our pick of our top ten Magnetic Fields songs, complete with lyrical awesomeness. Given that Merritt is set to perform his set list of 26 songs alphabetically, we thought we’d organize our top ten in the same way. We’re absolutely cuckoo like that. . .

"And if you make a mistake
My heart will certainly break
I'll have to jump in a lake
And all my friends will blame you
There's no telling what they'll do
It's only fair to tell you
I'm absolutely cuckoo."

"Acoustic guitar, if you think I play hard
Well you could've belonged to Steve Earle
Or Charo or GWAR, I could sell you tomorrow
So bring me back my girl."

"The book of love is long and boring
No one can lift the damn thing
It's full of charts and facts, some figures and instructions for dancing."

Come Back from San Francisco 

"Come back from San Francisco
And kiss me, I've quit smoking
I miss doing the wild thing with you."

No one will ever love you

"If you don't mind, why don't you mind?
Where is your sense of indignation.
You are too kind, much too kind.
Where is the madness that you promised me?
Where is the dream for which I paid dearly?"

 

"And nothing matters when we're dancing
In tat or tatters you're entrancing
Be we in Paris or in Lansing
Nothing matters when we're dancing."

"Reno Dakota there's not an iota of kindness in you
You know you enthrall me and yet you don't call me
It's making me blue, Pantone 292."

 Bonus video: The real Reno Dakota answers back

Washington D.C.

"Washington, D.C.
It's paradise to me
It's not because it is the grand old seat
Of precious freedom and democracy
No, no, no
It's not the greenery turning gold in fall
The scenery circling the Mall
It's just that's where my baby lives, that's all."

 When My Boy Walks Down the Street 

"Grand pianos crash together when my boy walks down the street
There are whole new kinds of weather when he walks with his new beat
Everyone sings hallelujah when my boy walks down the street
Life just kind of dances through ya from your smile down to your feet."

"When we met I thought
money was everything
so I let you buy the house,
the car, the ring
but I can't take your perpetual whining
and you can't sing."

Are we missing your favorite? Feel like contesting our selection? Feel free to indulge in some perpetual whining in the comments below . . .

Stephen Merritt plays the Aladdin Theater on Tuesday, May 12.

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