FOF #1161 – A Decade with Stephen Meritt and the Magnetic Fields
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Stephin Merritt is known as “the Cole Porter of his generation” and as the most miserable man in rock music. Today filmmaker Kerthy Fix talks about her new film- “Strange Powers: Stephen Merritt and the Magnetic Fields” on the ten years spent making the film, the zip-a-dee-doo-dah controversy and what love song she thinks represents him.
I can get behind the designation of Stephin Merritt as the “Cole Porter of his generation”, but only if, like Cole Porter, he never or rarely sings his own songs. Seriously the only vocalist more unpleasant to listen to is Tom Waits. I find Stephin’s song structure, lyrics, and melodies to be truly wonderful, but his singing and the arrangements and instrumentation are just such a drag. It has long frustrated me. I do really admire him but only as a songwriter.
I would love for his songs to really be turned over singers with only minimal participation from Merritt. I find even the versions sung by the Sixths to retain too much of his own vocal/instrumental style. I think it would be amazing to hear these songs delivered in completely different vocal deliveries from singers with beautiful voices.