On March 6, Merge Records will release Love at the Bottom of the Sea, the tenth full-length album by The Magnetic Fields. It's the first time since their crowning achievement, 1999's sprawling, wonderful triple-album, 69 Love Songs, that the band, led by Stephin Merritt, has used synthesizers. This seems like a big deal and is admittedly a sort of heartwarming return to form, but the truth is, no matter what style Merritt was committed to at a given time, his songwriting has always been rooted in his deep respect for melody and his unique and generally hilarious lyrics. He's a master of deadpan and ironic distance, to the extent that it can seem like he's simply making fun of everything: of himself, of you, of the very notion of music itself. Love at the Bottom of the Sea is no different in that regard. Below, the ten lyrical passages that only could have come from The Magnetic Fields.
"Andrew in Drag"
A pity she does not exist,
A shame he's not a fag.
The only girl I ever loved
was Andrew in Drag.
There is no hope of love for me.
From now on I'll go stag.
"Your Girlfriend's Face"
So I've taken a contract out on y'all
For making me feel infinitely small.
In the evenings I've devised your death:
Being buried alive on crystal meth.
Baby, I give you death
Bye-bye crystal meth.
"Born for Love"
Hey, little cutie.
I was born for love.
Can't count the chains I have worn for love.
Killed three men and one
Unicorn for love
But I won't mind if you just take me home.
I'd Go Anywhere With Hugh
I love Hugh and Hugh loves you.
You love me and he does not.
I don't love you and you don't love Hugh.
What a sad gavotte!
"The Only Boy in Town"
Though more pricks then a cactus
May always distract us,
Would they take up all my sex drive?
Not, not, not if you were the only boy alive.
Oh, if only you were the only boy in town.
Oh if only you were the only boy… In France!
"Goin' Back to the Country"
I'm gonna find me a county boy
And have a couple country kids:
LeAnn and LeRoi
And and we're gonna wind
Down those country roads
And sing and play the dulcimer till this world explodes.
I've Run Away To Join The Fairies
This mortal world has lost its charm.
I'll be a flower for their garden
Never to hold you in my arms.
They will enchant me and enslave me
And make of me their fool for fun.
Upon my head they'll place an ass's
More or less as you've always done.
"The Horrible Party"
Some plastic surgeon's done terrible things to poor Jane
Making her t'riffically popular—men are insane—
"Anything Goes" is the motto, and endless refrain
My dear it was heaven,
Until they ran out of Champagne.
We're on the brink of something.
Get me a drink of something, quick,
Between your outrageous remarks
Like the mating calls of sarcastic sharks.
"All She Cares About is Mariachi"
Go ahead and hire Saatchi & Saatchi
To advertise the sausage in your pants.
But all she cares about is mariachi
And all she ever wants to do is dance.