- Why the long face?
Stephin Merritt, a short, gay, laconic, and exceedingly witty person, is the lyricist for the Magnetic Fields (about whom this is the second Bleader post this week, sorry), in addition to other projects like the 6ths and the Gothic Archies. He writes impeccably and owns a chihuahua named for Irving Berlin. I’ve encountered people who think of Merritt’s lyrics as “ironic,” but I am here to submit that that’s not the case. They have a weird earnestness, which I think is what makes them so effective. You just have to separate it out from the aggressively hilarious, like “You Must Be Out of Your Mind,” from the 2010 album Realism, with its lines “I want you crawling back to me / Down on your knees, yeah / Like an appendectomy / Sans anesthesia.” There’s some funny shit on the new album, Love at the Bottom of the Sea, too; see for instance “Your Girlfriend’s Face.”