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  • The Magnetic Fields' 50 Song Memoir, which chronicles the fifty years of songwriter Stephin Merritt's life with one song per year, is due March 10 on Nonesuch. Merritt spoke with writer Michael Hill about the project, from its conception over lunch (with Nonesuch's Bob Hurwitz) through the songwriting (nonfiction material making its first appearance in his work) to its recording (he sings vocals on all fifty songs and plays more than one hundred instruments).

  • The Magnetic Fields' 50 Song Memoir, chronicling the 50 years of songwriter Stephin Merritt's life with one song per year, is due March 10, 2017, on Nonesuch. Merritt sings vocals on all 50 songs and plays more than 100 instruments, from ukulele to piano to drum machine to abacus. Unlike his previous work, the lyrics are nonfiction—a mix of autobiography (bedbugs, Buddhism, buggery) and documentary (hippies, Hollywood, hyperacusis). Available in five-LP and five-CD editions including an extensive interview by Daniel Handler and facsimile handwritten lyrics by Merritt, and as a standalone bound book with a full-album download card. Pre-order to download one song from each decade now. For a limited time, Nonesuch Store pre-orders also come with an exclusive autographed print.

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  • About This Album

    In May 2004, Nonesuch released i, the label debut by The Magnetic Fields. The long-awaited follow-up to the acclaimed 1999 release 69 Love Songs, i finds singer/songwriter Stephin Merritt in full possession of his acerbic wit. Featuring lyrics ripe with melancholy and bittersweet imagery, the record’s fourteen tracks are possibly the most personal Merritt has created to date—a departure from the many voices on 69 Love Songs.

    Produced by Stephin Merritt, i features The Magnetic Fields’ four-piece lineup: Merritt on vocals and assorted instruments, including ukulele; Sam Davol on cello; Claudia Gonson on piano and drums; and John Woo on guitar and banjo. Unlike recent Merritt projects, i was recorded using only hand- played instruments, without synthesizers.

    i is the seventh Magnetic Fields album since the band’s debut in 1990 with Distant Plastic Trees. In 1999, the band’s three-CD collection 69 Love Songs established Merritt as one of this generation’s most talented songwriters. It drew worldwide attention with comparisons to legends Cole Porter and Irving Berlin. SPIN graded it 10 out of 10, Rolling Stone described it as “gorgeous,” and the New York Times hailed the triple CD as a work of “genius.” Between Magnetic Fields releases, Merritt has released albums with his other bands, Future Bible Heroes, Gothic Archies, and the 6ths. He collaborated with theater director Shi-Zheng Chen on the Chinese opera The Orphan of Zhao for the Lincoln Center Festival and the opera Peach Blossom Fan, which premiered at Los Angeles’ REDCAT Theater in April 2004. He also wrote the soundtrack to the movie Pieces of April.

    Credits

    MUSICIANS
    Stephin Merritt
    Sam Davol, cello
    Claudia Gonson, drums and percussion, piano, harpsichord, background vocals
    John Woo, banjo, guitar, electric sitar
    No synths

    PRODUCTION CREDITS
    Recording: Charles Newman, Ravi Krishnaswami
    Additional production and mix: Charles Newman
    Mastering: Jeff Lipton at Peerless

    All songs written by Stephin Merritt

    Design by Evan Gaffney
    Cover art: Gravity in Four Directions by Fred Tomaselli

nonesuch's picture
on May 29, 2008 - 7:14pm
Artist Name: 
The Magnetic Fields
Release Date: 
Tuesday, May 4, 2004 - 04:00
DescriptionExcerpt: 

The Magnetic Fields’ Nonesuch debut is darkly witty, ingeniously arranged, and conspicuously synth-free. NPR’s All Things Considered called Stephin Merritt’s songs “disciplined little gems of composition, poison-pen letters set in the first person ... Even under Merritt's dour storm clouds, they gleam.”

Description: 

In May 2004, Nonesuch released i, the label debut by The Magnetic Fields. The long-awaited follow-up to the acclaimed 1999 release 69 Love Songs, i finds singer/songwriter Stephin Merritt in full possession of his acerbic wit. Featuring lyrics ripe with melancholy and bittersweet imagery, the record’s fourteen tracks are possibly the most personal Merritt has created to date—a departure from the many voices on 69 Love Songs.

Produced by Stephin Merritt, i features The Magnetic Fields’ four-piece lineup: Merritt on vocals and assorted instruments, including ukulele; Sam Davol on cello; Claudia Gonson on piano and drums; and John Woo on guitar and banjo. Unlike recent Merritt projects, i was recorded using only hand- played instruments, without synthesizers.

i is the seventh Magnetic Fields album since the band’s debut in 1990 with Distant Plastic Trees. In 1999, the band’s three-CD collection 69 Love Songs established Merritt as one of this generation’s most talented songwriters. It drew worldwide attention with comparisons to legends Cole Porter and Irving Berlin. SPIN graded it 10 out of 10, Rolling Stone described it as “gorgeous,” and the New York Times hailed the triple CD as a work of “genius.” Between Magnetic Fields releases, Merritt has released albums with his other bands, Future Bible Heroes, Gothic Archies, and the 6ths. He collaborated with theater director Shi-Zheng Chen on the Chinese opera The Orphan of Zhao for the Lincoln Center Festival and the opera Peach Blossom Fan, which premiered at Los Angeles’ REDCAT Theater in April 2004. He also wrote the soundtrack to the movie Pieces of April.

ProductionCredits: 

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Recording: Charles Newman, Ravi Krishnaswami
Additional production and mix: Charles Newman
Mastering: Jeff Lipton at Peerless

All songs written by Stephin Merritt

Design by Evan Gaffney
Cover art: Gravity in Four Directions by Fred Tomaselli

Cover Art: 
Nonesuch Selection Number: 

79683

Number of Discs in Set: 
1disc
ns_album_artistid: 
185
ns_album_id: 
546
ns_album_releasedate: 
Tuesday, May 4, 2004 - 04:00
ns_genre_1: 
0
ns_genre_2: 
0
Album Status: 
UPC/Price: 
Label: 
CD+MP3
UPC: 
075597968323BUN
Label: 
MP3
UPC: 
075597968361
Price: 
10.00
MusicianDetails: 

MUSICIANS
Stephin Merritt
Sam Davol, cello
Claudia Gonson, drums and percussion, piano, harpsichord, background vocals
John Woo, banjo, guitar, electric sitar
No synths

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