The Magnetic Fields polarize critics with Distortion

Posted January 9th, 2008 by Eric Greenwood · 7 Comments

As a longtime Magnetic Fields fan, I am, of course, anticipating the new album, Distortion, which comes out next week on Nonesuch. I’m, perhaps, even more intrigued than usual given the wildly differing takes on Stephin Merritt’s new production fetishes. I’ve heard “Three Way”, a surfed-up haze of feedback instrumental, save for some ecstatic shouts of the title. All the Jesus and Mary Chain references certainly have my curiosity piqued. I’m just confused by the polarizing reactions. Having been a critics darling for so long, I suppose it’s inevitable that some chinks in the armor would eventually surface, but I look forward to being able to decide for myself.

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7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 K // Jan 10, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    If you honestly like it a month after listening, I’ll eat my “I Don’t Believe You” 7″ liner notes with Stephin’s post-show-completely-disinterested scrawling all over them.

  • 2 jhn // Jan 11, 2008 at 11:19 am

    “Distortion” is really good. I would bet that most critics who don’t get it, are not very familiar with his catalog.

  • 3 patrick // Jan 11, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    You obviously don’t know these Drawer B gents very well, do you?

  • 4 K // Jan 11, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Indeed. The fact that someone with a signed copy of an obscure Stephin Merritt 7″ is willing to eat it to prove that Distortion is Bad Bad Bad, should be an indication of the level of fandom involved. Sigh.

  • 5 mike // Jan 17, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    k, you are obnoxious. you leave me scratching my head in amazement at your pretentiousness with every post. distortion is a fine addition to the magnetic fields catalog. this is a rare band that can morph into any number of styles, yet their signature sound is always evident. it’s just another magnetic fields album, a good time if you’re willing to have one. get over yourself, please.
    and while i have your attention, hear me out:
    this moronic insistence that making a few dollars by letting your music play on a car commercial amounts to some heinous crime against the underground is so incredibly childish. if the books can afford to record another album instead of getting real jobs, i really don’t care that they are taking money from hummer. in fact, it’s fucking hilarious.

  • 6 patrick // Jan 17, 2008 at 2:45 pm


    you’re trolling on an internet message board. get over yourself, please.

  • 7 K // Jan 17, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment, mike!