100 Greatest Albums of the 90’s: #30

The Magnetic Fields – Get Lost

Musically he crosses over Tom Waits, Abba, Cole Porter and Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark; lyrically, he’s near enough unbeatable for different reasons: Stephin Merritt is a master craftsman. His three disc CV ’69 Love Songs’ is well known in the indie circuits already (as it should be), but this little known gem deserves attention on its own. Starting out in weird synth-pop cheaper than a Primark shoestring (which sounded just as rickety), Merritt splashed the budget into triple figures for ‘Get Lost’ which is like DIY Phil Spector with near-perfect, witty home-grown electronic pop songs to boot (most of the time). Nothing is really as it seems on this record; case in point: the two-minute soul-bearing ‘When You’re Old and Lonely’ which is sweetly romantic, achingly sad and slightly bitter and gloating all at once. It’s a set of poisonous kiss-offs (‘The Desperate Things You Made Me Do’), tongue-in-cheek love songs (‘Don’t Look Away’) and poignant meditations on the aimless plod through life (‘Smoke and Mirrors’). Though it may slip up once or twice, ‘Get Lost’  is, on the whole, brilliantly written and sounds unique.
Listen to: Smoke and Mirrors

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