14 March 2006

the magnetic fields - "as you turn to go" (live performance from 1999)

in 1999 or thereabouts, stephin merritt began performing w/ the magnetic fields three of what i believe to be his greatest love songs : "he didn't," "movie star," and "as you turn to go." these, however, have not gone on to become merritt standards, namely b/c he gave them away for a 6ths project.

it's often said that merritt's strength is in his songwriting and not his singing--but something strange happened between then and now : merritt has become more like bob dylan. no, he's not all self-referential now, and God remains far from his heaven; merritt, w/ apologies to momus, dominique, and bob mould, instead has turned out to be the best interpreter of his songs.

such a claim is, i think, ably backed up by this live performance. the chinking of glasses, the comings and goings of patrons, and low din of conversation makes it seem all the more poignant. a sad song is only sadder when it seems as if no one is listening; this, then, is amongst the v. saddest.

p.s. i still hate the "mata hari" line, though.

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