Tag Archives: The Magnetic Fields

50 States, 50 Artists, 50 Songs

Alabama

Alabama Shakes- “Hold On”

Alaska

Volcano Choir- “Alaskans”

Arizona

The Beatles- “Get Back”

Arkansas

Of Montreal- “Little Rock

California

Foxygen- “San Francisco”

Colorado

Bob Dylan- “Man of Constant Sorrow”

Connecticut

Superchunk- “Connecticut

Delaware

Continue reading 50 States, 50 Artists, 50 Songs

Song-A-Day: January 19

I’m working on a blog post at the moment where we show 50 separate artists playing 50 of their songs about the fifty states which will likely be posted tomorrow, but because I set a limit on myself that I wasn’t allowed to repeat an artist I found it difficult to cover our nation’s capital in the post: Washington D.C. Thus, the song that I would like to have placed in that role will instead be grabbing our Song-A-Day nod for today, by The Magnetic Fields off of 69 Love Songs, here’s “Washington, D.C.”

W-A-S-H-I-N-G-T-O-N, baby
D-C!
W-A-S-H-I-N-G-T-O-N, baby
D-C!

Washington D.C., it’s paradise to me
It’s not because it is the grand ol’ 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, thats all

Washington D.C., it’s the greatest place to be
It’s not the cherries everywhere in bloom
It’s not the way they put folks on the moon
No, no, no
It’s not the spectacles and pageantry
The thousand things you’ve got to see
It’s just, that’s where my baby waits for me

W-A-S-H-I-N-G-T-O-N, baby
D-C!
W-A-S-H-I-N-G-T-O-N, baby
D-C!

Washington D.C., it fits me to a T
It’s not the people doing something real
It’s not the way the springtime makes you feel
No, no, no
It ain’t no famous name on a golden plaque
That makes me ride that railroad track
It’s my baby’s kiss that keeps me coming back

It’s my baby’s kiss that keeps me coming back!

“I Don’t Enjoy Sad Songs”

The above quote was brought up over the past weekend about a friend of one of my housemates from back home, and we all laughed at the concept of it for perhaps different reasons. The people in the room that knew him better than myself laughed because they knew examples of artists who the quoted person claimed to love which seemed to contradict the statement, but I laughed because it seemed like such an odd point to define your music interests. ‘Sad songs’ are going to find their way into every genre of music because a vast majority of artists will have something pushing them which inspires some form of sadness, it’s the nature of the beast.

Plus who’s to say what a sad song is when depressing topics such as “We Will Become Silhouettes” by The Postal Service and “Dying Is Fine” by Ra Ra Riot can be presented in such pretty and poppy ways? Listening is more of an empathetic process than anything else, and the listener by no means has to copy the feeling of the music. You don’t have to be happy to enjoy a happy song, and you don’t have to be sad when you hear a sad song, it’s just about trying to identify and understand why the artist is feeling that emotion and displaying it in this manner. To prove this point, I’ve compiled a playlist of ten songs I would say are sad but make me happy when I listen to them, and I hope that other people share this feeling with me.

Jeffrey Lewis- The East River

The Magnetic Fields- I Don’t Believe in the Sun

Okkervil River- On Tour With Zykos

Continue reading “I Don’t Enjoy Sad Songs”

Kyle’s Favorite 100 Songs: 60-51

Here are numbers 60-51 on my countdown of my 100 favorite songs.

60. Death Cab For Cutie- Steadier Footing

This is the chance I never got/ To make a move, but we just talk about/ The people we’ve met in the last five years/ And will we remember them in ten more.

A really short and pretty song by Death Cab from earlier in their career, “Steadier Footing” captures Gibbard people watching from his porch late night after a party. He was looking for some isolation, but he found himself in a conversation which was incredibly genuine and capped off the night well for him. I always loved the talking point about if the people who you’re currently friends with will still be friends of yours in ten years because it’s a very real fear for myself, in an ever-changing world you have to wonder if the good things will stay constant.

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59. Bright Eyes- Amy in the White Coat

“You see, we’re all trying to endure/ You could easily go and make your own life somewhere/ Couldn’t you?

I dug into Noise Floor after hearing the more popular Bright Eyes albums and loving them, and I remember that on the first listen I enjoyed it, but the only songs that really jumped out at me were the Daniel Johnston cover of “Devil Town”, the piano-lead “Drunk Kid Catholic”, and “Amy in the White Coat”(in hindsight, “Blue Angels Air Show” should have been in this grouping). At the point though I hadn’t followed the storyline to “Amy in the White Coat”, I just remembered it as a good song that I wanted to re-visit, and on that second listen I was stunned and saddened. The entire track is about a girl, Amy, who is in an incredibly bad living situation with her father (I don’t feel fully comfortable typing out how so). The horrible part is that Amy’s just found a way to deal with it because she needs to be there to survive, so she doesn’t really see an alternative. It’s the saddest song I’ve ever heard.

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58. Radiohead- The National Anthem

“Everyone/ Everyone is so near/ Everyone has got the fear/ It’s holding on.”

I respect Radiohead a lot but I don’t obsess over them, in fact the only real Radiohead song that I feel a strong connection to is “The National Anthem”. I like how this song attacks you as new instruments get introduced to the chaos in response to Thom Yorke’s messages to the masses. Everything seems like it really belongs in the track, as Radiohead creates a national anthem where the nation doesn’t get rid of the ugly, where it isn’t meant to be sung by kids in school, and where there are just long segments of chaotic noise occurring.

Continue reading Kyle’s Favorite 100 Songs: 60-51

Kyle’s Favorite 100 Songs: 90-81

Continuing from where we left off last week, here are numbers 90-81 on my list of favorite songs

90. MGMT- Time to Pretend

I’ll miss the boredom and the freedom and the time spent alone.

I like the idea of a band growing up into stardom and not getting a say in it. It’s hard to complain because of how fortunate you are just to continue to be relevant for the time being, but the lifestyle robs you of some of the best parts of being alive. “Time to Pretend” dives into this mindset really well and covers a lot of the awful parts of the lifestyle, along with the necessity to pretend that things are never going wrong to maintain the image. In reality, MGMT never wanted to be the pop superstars, and that envious.

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89. Guided By Voices- Closer You Are

The closer you are/ The quicker it hits you.

High energy, quick punching song to capture the awesomeness of Guided By Voices. It’s amazing to think about how talented Pollard is at working his way to choruses, and it’s how they always fill forty minute rock albums with twenty-two tracks. This one was one of the first GBV songs I loved when I re-dove into their discography, and it stays on the list because of the rock mentality message. The closer you are to a person/situation, the quicker it will hit you.

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88. The Hold Steady- Ask Her For Adderall

If she happens to suggest/ A love based on trust and respect/ Tell her I’ve been wasted since last week.

It’s crazy to me how this is just the beginning to a bonus track on Stay Positive. It’s the ultimate dodger anthem; the guy who’s not really doing anything with his life right now, but wants to keep that a secret so people don’t have to worry about him. Lie about what we already did, come up with an excuse for why I never answer the phone, and try to get them to send more stuff.
Continue reading Kyle’s Favorite 100 Songs: 90-81

Essential Albums: The Magnetic Fields- 69 Love Songs


Quick Band Bio: The Magnetic Fields are a Boston band that formed in 1988 and released their first album Distant Plastic Trees in 1991. They became known for their use of unusual instrumentation in pop songs, frequent inclusion of synthesizers, and Stephen Merritt’s songwriting style (short and clever). 69 Love Songs was the sixth album released by the group, and the one that served as their breakthrough as the triple album excels despite asking it’s audience to give them your patience for the nearly three hours of music. A three hour concept album sounds a bit scary, but this concept doesn’t end up limiting the band nearly as much as you’d expect given the title, in fact Merritt clarified upon the release that 69 Love Songs is not remotely an album about love. It’s an album about love songs, which are very far away from anything to do with love”.

Continue reading Essential Albums: The Magnetic Fields- 69 Love Songs