The Magnetic Fields are one of my all time favorite bands. They are an intersection of many loves of my life. I have a certain fondness of the eclectic mix of instruments the band makes music with. Also, the people who play those instruments have a special place in my heart. It’s no secret that I have a big, fat artistic crush on front man Stephin Merritt (I just think we’d get each other, he owns a chihuahua named after Irving Berlin and plays the ukulele). And the special guests are particularly distinguished as well.(On an occasion, an accordion player Daniel Handler, a.k.a. Lemony Snicket, sits in with the band.)
But mostly, it’s the way the band makes melodies that somehow manage to be poppy and catchy but also epic at the same time.Merritt’s lyrics are unparalleled in my opinion. He’s been inspired by the saccharine sounds of his favorite band, Abba.The songs he writes have an emotional momentum similar to what I hear in Abba, but the fantastic images he paints in song are layered with more irony and his voice is a deep, rich, sardonic counterpoint to Abba’s style. Listen to Papa was a Rodeo on volume II of 69 Love Songs for a prime example of his work.
There’s no perfect analogy in the material world, but I imagine that the songs are like what candy would be like if it was sugary but also nutritious and eating it made you think about all the ways love had let you down.
And guess what? Even though the show’s tomorrow, it’s not too late to get tickets. And I say do it now because Stephin Merritt is a reluctant rock star, he’s a little shy and dislikes applause. So the band doesn’t tour nearly as often as I wish they would. You can catch the show at the State Theater, in case you need more incentive, the opening act is a slide show presented by The Forewords.
For tickets, call the Walker Box Office at 612.375.7600 or check the Walker Calendar.