My 50 Favorite Albums of 2008: #12

Number 12

The eighth full-length offering by The Magnetic Fields is Distortion, which, arriving at the 18th year since the band was formed by leader Stephin Merritt, is simply a glorious continuation of a style of music they have mastered over the course of the last two decades: the poor bastard/failure at love soundtrack. After the creation of one of the most unreal, daunting, and impressive of triple-albums, 69 Love Songs, at the end of the last decade, the band went on what seemed like a career-ending hiatus, but finally returned, on Nonesuch Records in 2004, with i. Their second release for Nonesuch is this collection of thirteen vintage Magnetic tracks, the Distortion name not only reffering to the overall sound of the record, but the hazy description of what it must be like inside Merritt’s endlessly heartbroken soul. Like all of their other terrific music (which I can say with assurity is their entire discography), the album is filled with short numbers that are instantly re-playable, especially “Old Fools”, “I’ll Dream Alone”, and the astonishing “Too Drunk To Dream”, which has to be the best song Merritt has written this decade, in which he sings, “I gotta get too drunk to dream cause dreaming only makes me blue. I gotta get too drunk to dream because I only dream of you”. Very reminiscent of one of my favorite songs of off 69 Love Songs, called “Love Is Like A Bottle Of Gin”, “Too Drunk To Dream” was one of my absolute favorite songs of the year. Distortion is one of the most amazing and fully meshed collection of songs put out in 2008, and I fear it has been forgotten in the mix here at the end of the year by many who have constructed lists, and simply because it was released very early on. I know I haven’t forgotten it.

2.California Girls
3.Old Fools
4.Xavier Says
5.Mr. Mistletoe
6.Please Stop Dancing
7.Drive On, Driver
8.Too Drunk To Dream
9.Till the Bitter End
10.I’ll Dream Alone
11.The Nun’s Litany
12.Zombie Boy


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