The Magnetic Fields
Holiday


5.0
classic

Review

by For Meatplow USER (61 Reviews)
January 15th, 2011 | 21 replies


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Stephin Merrit proves that gay men always have the best baritones.

Something to note about The Magnetic Fields's Holiday is that it glows like the radiant summer sun on some carefree, breezy afternoon. It encapsulates a summer environment with its warm tones and textures swirling and coalescing into the image of a perfect holiday vacation, so bright and so involving. And this is in spite of the sprinkles of somber undertones that symbolize both a summer's ending and the infamous idiosyncratic nature of the band's frontman Stephin Merrit, who luckily was able to let The Magnetic Fields embrace his sarcastic wit after the departure of Susan Anway. The fact that now Merrit's lyrics, which had before been vocalized by Ms. Anway, are now sung by the man who penned them, allows the band to better project their meanings to their audience. And it also takes form as one of Holiday's most prominent features. It's only apt that Merrit's distinctive lyrical tone - one that balances wit, sarcasm and cynicism so that it articulates a glimmer of hope in a not-so-bright situation - be put on Holiday. The reason being that the fabric of summer days and The Magnetic Fields's character blend into a portrait of a beautiful summer morning.

For example, closer "Take Ecstasy with Me" serves as an emblem for the whole album, melding The Magnetic Fields's engrossing lo-fi indie pop with lyrics about the trials and tribulations of a love lost but certainly not forgotten. He brilliant reflects in his fitting lugubrious baritone, "you used to make gingerbread houses/We used to have taffy pulls." And then he paints a bleaker picture with, "A vodka bottle gave you those raccoon eyes/We got beat up just for holding hands/Take ecstasy with me, baby." Still, the song's melodies soar with a bright demeanor, an example of said swirl of optimistic instrumentation and Merrit's more disarming lyrical bite.

Herein lies one of Holiday's biggest triumphs: the fact that its dense with textures and personal experiences. Whether they be about growing up gay or feeling isolated, regretful and forgiving, Merrit paints a portrait of life on Holiday, and then puts it in a lo-fi indie pop package. He stripes it with synth-coated sweetness, romance and dry wit. His sleepy, apt phrasing's placed on top of it and then he weaves a knack for writing textured, delicate pop songs throughout to form the fabric. Not just the fabric of an involving summer vacation, but the fabric of an involving life - romance and all.



Recent reviews by this author
Mattin Proletarian of NoiseGuernica (Japan) Shinseiki e no Unga
Veliotis / Sugimoto / Kinoshita / Unami QuartetKesha Cannibal
Mathos Franz JosephSachiko M, Toshimaru Nakamura & Otomo... Good Morning Good Night
user ratings (57)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
rasputin (4.5)
the sun pours down like honey....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Bitchfork
January 16th 2011


7584 Comments


If you don't get the joke in the summary I hate you.

Slum
January 16th 2011


2579 Comments


I like this review, have never heard of this album, you make it sound good though. pos.

JustJoe
January 16th 2011


1399 Comments


You know I do enjoy my adjective-packed reviews.

*pretends like he got the joke in the summary*

Digging: Daniel Land, & the Modern Painters - Love Songs for the Chemical Generation

Bitchfork
January 16th 2011


7584 Comments


i think you'd like it slum.

Stephin's gay and he has a baritone but he could have a baritone as arm candy.


Whatever fuck you Yeti liked it.

Slum
January 16th 2011


2579 Comments


also congrats on 50 reviews dude

JustJoe
January 16th 2011


1399 Comments


Oh, Bitchy...

=]


Bitchfork
January 16th 2011


7584 Comments


thats me c:

slum this is probably more like my 200th.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
January 16th 2011


10594 Comments


Um, I'm straight, and I fancy myself a pretty damn good baritone.

Digging: Grouper - Ruins

Bitchfork
January 16th 2011


7584 Comments


I fancy a pretty damn good baritone, but God no I'm not straight.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
January 16th 2011


10594 Comments


You write and carry yourself on this site so much better than some people 10 years older than you. Congrats on your 50th.

Bitchfork
January 16th 2011


7584 Comments


Thank you, but don't expect me to become a contrib with you.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
January 16th 2011


10594 Comments


Haha, don't expect me to be contrib at all lol!

But really, keep writing and expanding sputnik's ambient-ish side, you a good user to have around.

Bitchfork
January 16th 2011


7584 Comments


Too bad sputnik will be basically done in June and I will be in the narrow confines of rateyourmusic.com. But whatever at least they know who the fuck Rina Ketty and Edith Piaf are!

Kiran
Emeritus
January 16th 2011


6001 Comments


knowing the names of pre-war lounge sirens isn't really that impressive! and everyone knows piaf because of that movie

Bitchfork
January 16th 2011


7584 Comments


"knowing the names of pre-war lounge sirens isn't really that impressive"
my point

then why wasn't she in the database hm hm?

Kiran
Emeritus
January 16th 2011


6001 Comments


idk the only thing i really took away from my experiences with edith piaf is how hot marion cotillard is

Bitchfork
January 16th 2011


7584 Comments


that's why rina ketty ftw

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
January 16th 2011


7026 Comments


Wonderful album and wonderful review. Also congrats on the 50!

Digging: Perfume Genius - Too Bright

Bitchfork
January 16th 2011


7584 Comments


thanks lucid

Tyrael
January 16th 2011


20879 Comments


Haha that summary is brilliant. This was a very enjoyable read and congrats with the 50!

Digging: Darkspace - Dark Space III I



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy