The Magnetic Fields – I

Here’s all you need to know about the level of effort on this album: this is a concept album, and the concept herein is that every song title starts with the letter i. For added convenience, the songs are then arranged in alphabetical order. That’s the concept here. There’s no thematic connection, no lyrical motif or musical leitmotif, just the fucking letter i.
See, kids, this is what a mediocre album sounds like. The bane of the reviewer and the product of the talented but frustrated mind. I can imagine the process that went on: five years after a major accomplishment, and Merritt had to release something. I bet there were a dozen false starts, then all the failed half-started songs from those themes were grouped together and made believe to be part of a family. But no, this is just a bunch of mostly decent songs.
At least there’s no synths this time. But there’s no real guitar either, just a lot of baroque pop tunes, led by ukeleleleles and violins. Without the weight of difficult instrumentation or forty clever songs this album just floats away, and all the faster for most of it. I don’t know what qualifies as ‘chamber pop’, but this is certainly music for the prematurely old. The one ‘dance’ song is more than stale, and while I love the dark “I Wish I Had An Evil Twin”, the entire second half of the album is filled with overdone sentiments, half-baked melodies, and other negatives, including the miserable “I’m Tongue-Tied”.
I’m struggling to find a way to work this into the review, but let me just say that this album is a bleak Merrittocracy!
Oh, you didn’t like that? It sounds like it took about as much labour as this boring, disappointing album.

4 / 10

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