Stephen Merritt is the greatest lyricist ever...or is he? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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Dusty Chalk
09-13-2004, 04:44 PM
Been listening to The 6ths, Hyacinths and Thistles, and totally enjoying the lyrics.

I know I'm not supposed to say I'm sorry,
I know you've had more loves than Mata Hari...

With a slew of the oddest collection of guest vocalists -- from Gary Numan to Odetta, including Mark Almond, Bob Mould, Momus, and everyone from Sally Timms (Mekons) to Katharine Whalen (Squirrel Nut Zippers) to Miho Hatori (Cibo Matto) and Neil Hannon (Divine Comedy).

It would be swell
to see some folks burn in hell
but when they go
It's just as pleasant to know
that the dead only quickly decay

And yet, it still sounds like a Stephen Merritt (Magnetic Fields) record (every song can be described as "wistful", with emphasis on the lyrics). Sure, he did a good job in "channeling muses" -- I.E. writing for the intended singer (I can't imagine him singing any of these himself), and yet...I can still "hear" his "voice".

Thunder sings a requiem
Lightning is taking pictures of everything
from every point of view
Let's go outside and have our picture taken too

The collaboration I had hoped for the most was the Momus one, because I actually hear similarities in their music, but since it's the first track on the album, I was a bit taken aback. Oh, well, time to track down the new Momus record (my other nomination for greatest lyricist ever...or perhaps Voltaire...I don't know...).

Oh, and I must say, the last track drags on for way too effin' long.

09-13-2004, 08:02 PM
Merritt is certainly an extremely gifted writer, one of my favorites. Having said that, the most recent Magnetic Fields release left me pretty cold. I think he hiccupped on that one, or fell asleep, but that's just my opinion.

Dusty Chalk
09-14-2004, 08:52 PM
I actually really liked i. In some ways, more than 69 Love Songs. I found it more "accessible".