Summer of 69

Merritt's wry humor and cynicism no longer have a stranglehold on him anymore, either; he can fill elegies like "Asleep and Dreaming" or Weill-ish sing-alongs like "Nothing Matters When We're Dancing" with such tenderness that only a replicant could listen without getting verklempt. Throwaways like "Punk Love" delightfully reinforce the magnitude of the task--by the law of averages, some of these tunes have to be bad. Better that their awfulness is intentional, the way it's cute when your S.O. acts naughty. Lovers, however, frequently change their minds--CDs, frozen in time, are far more consistent. If people were as reliable as the Magnetic Fields' magnum opus, we might not need so many love songs.

Magnetic Fields play the Knitting Factory September 9 and 10.

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