Review Summary: you said goodnight but you meant goodbye.
Stephen Merritt’s over the top and sickeningly sweet indie pop reached some level of thematic perfection on Holiday
(a trend he would continue with almost every succeeding album), but its immediate precursor Get Lost
flails alongside the Magnetic Fields’ typical degree of consistency. Despite containing some of the best songs he has ever recorded, the premise of Get Lost
ebbs and flows through the album – sometimes remarkably forceful, other times almost non-existent.
In the opening ‘Famous’, Merritt proclaims clearly ‘baby you could be famous / just get out of this town’, which sets the simple setting for the album to follow: get lost. The almost insanely cruel lyrics that Merritt pens should easily have a field trip with this sort of theme, and of course, they do – ‘you don’t even like anything you like or the people you know / and all of your reasons to stay alive died’. ‘The Desperate Things You Made Me Do’ is a cutesy and typical Fields track, with some of the darkest lyrics any Magnetic Fields fan will hear.
What is unfortunate about Get Lost
is that despite the excellence of perhaps half its tracks, some of the songs are rather unmemorable. Overall the album is much darker than its precursor, both in its malicious lyrics and overbearingly depressive subject matter. ‘Why I Cry’ epitomizes Merritt’s extraordinarily blunt wit, the irony of his music and how he can still maintain affection through parody – it is the perfection of his style.
While the record’s continuity is perhaps lacking in comparison to both earlier and later Magnetic Fields albums, Get Lost
is still both a hilarious and poignant expression of Merritt’s talent. Any fan of his work will undoubtedly find something to grasp onto within the record, and like any Magnetic Fields album, will have its layers peeled away indefinitely.
All the summer days
Where we used to play
Walking hand in hand
Castles in the sand
So you said goodnight
But you meant goodbye
Now our love has died
This is why I cry