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Distortion [Special Edition]

The Magnetic Fields Audio CD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: 10.56 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Songwriter Stephin Merritt enjoys working with themes: escape, country roads, vampires, miniatures. The Magnetic Fields’ House of Tomorrow (1992) featured all “loop” songs. Distortion (2008) was an homage to the sound ... Read more in Amazon's The Magnetic Fields Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Distortion + Realism + I
Price For All Three: 26.75

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  • Realism 4.99
  • I 11.20

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Product details

  • Audio CD (14 Jan 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Special Edition
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 108,685 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Three-Way 3:000.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. California Girls 3:000.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Old Fools 3:000.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Xavier Says 2:400.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Mr. Mistletoe 2:570.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Please Stop Dancing 3:000.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Drive on, Driver 2:490.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Too Drunk to Dream 2:580.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Till the Bitter End 3:020.79  Buy MP3 
Listen10. I'll Dream Alone 3:040.79  Buy MP3 
Listen11. The Nun's Litany 2:580.79  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Zombie Boy 3:030.79  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Courtesans 2:590.79  Buy MP3 

Product Description


One of pop’s most skilful musical conceptualists, Stephin Merritt’s new album Distortion has been hailed as an attempt to build an album in the mould of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s feedback-strewn debut Psychocandy--although naturally, there’s also another reason: Merritt is a sufferer from "hyperacusis", a sensitive hearing condition, and these sweet-sung songs of love, alcohol, and heartache are designed to give you a glimpse into his experience of sound. If the thought of songs played through a curtain of shrill distortion is an upsetting proposition, fear not–-you’ll return with eardrums intact. Rather, the high-end is just an eccentric sort of frame for some of Magnetic Fields’ more approachable, arch, and all-round loveable songs. "California Girls", sung by collaborator Shirley Simms is shimmering West Coat pop spiked with strychnine ("See them on the big bright screen/Tanned, blonde and seventeen ... I hate Californian girls"). "Too Drunk to Dream" is a sashaying ‘60s pastiche that finds Merritt extolling the virtues of a life spent "shitfaced", while "The Nun’s Litany" sees Simms playing a woman of the cloth that dreams of shedding her habit: "I want to be a topless waitress/I want my mum to shed one tear". --Louis Pattison

Product Description

Our product to treat is a regular product. There is not the imitation. From Japan by the surface mail because is sent out, take it until arrival as 7-14 day. Thank you for you seeing it.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
This album has has Jesus & Mary Chain comarisons left right and centre, but, for me, it's much more than that. The difference being that early JAMC wrote punk-pop songs, then immersed then in screeching feedback.

This album employs a similar tactic, but, the feedback is soft focus, recalling My Bloody Valentine, or even Slowdive as much as the JAMC.

The production is nearer that of early Magnetic Fields albums such as 'Distant Plastic Trees', but with soft voices over loud-ish music. Despite that, it is a POP! (with big letters - POP as in great catchy songs written from the heart, as opposed to X Factor) album. The more poppy it gets, the better it gets!!! 'Too Drunk To Dream' is Merritt at his best, pondering his own broken heart, along with one he lost, or can't have, and concluding that the only way to get rid of the pain is to get completely wasted. We've all been there. The typical Merritt themes are the same as ever - after over a dcade, would anyone expect otherwise...

'California Girls' sounds saccarine sweet, but, is a dig at a certin type of girl...

I could go through this album song by song...but, instead, I'll say that this is a brilliant album....if you're already familiar with The Magnetic Fields, this is essential. If not, get '69 Love Songs' first, then get this album...
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4.0 out of 5 stars What's 69 Love Songs Got To Do With It? 17 May 2008
Format:Audio CD
I apologize for the pun, but it has to be said that if 69 Love Songs proved anything, apart from Stephin Merritt being a prolific and witty song-writer, its that genre doesn't mean much to TMF: at the heart of whatever premise of style that's been chosen to dress up the music in is a knack for writing entertaining, occasionally sublime pop songs. To judge Distortion against the behemoth that was 69 Love Songs is a bit unfair because they're not quite the same thing: Distortion is a regular 45 minute long-player, the kind most bands release during their careers, whereas 69 Love Songs is a three hour artistic statement; a tour-de-force of songwriting that, lucky for us, 'hit' far more often than it missed.

The 'pared down' aesthetic extends beyond reduced running time: all of the songs are based on a simple electric guitar, bass, drums and piano format, with the occasional organ, played at feedback inducing volume; all the songs are sung alternately by Merritt and co-vocalist Shirley Simms, with the exception of mass 'shout-a-long' 'Three-way', and 'Please Stop Dancing'; and there isn't a synthesizer in sight (the biggest shock of them all if you ask me)!

As themes go, 'Distortion' is a suitably open-ended one that doesn't intrude on songwriting subject matter, doing away with the awkward constraints of their previous album 'I' whilst providing a unifiying aesthetic for Merritt's songs of millionaires, zombies, starlets and drunkards.

Most, if not all of the songs are excellent, but don't be surprised if you find the yourself singing the up-tempo 'California Girls', 'Drive On, Driver' and 'The Nun's Litany', all sung by Simms, whilst driving to work, doing the washing up, or whatever at the expense of the others.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Distorted and Distinguished 13 Mar 2008
By Dudley Serious VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The whirring, droning distortions providing a carpet for the songs on this album do without doubt evoke memories of the Jesus and Mary Chain's debut. Very house proud, those Jesus and Mary Chain boys; they hoovered the studio whilst recording their album. And a dust-free legend was born.

Like the Reid brothers, Magnetic Fields also have an ear for a tune so the tracks are all pretty melodic and some downright catchy. "Three-Way" is a triumphal, almost instrumental (bar the chanted title) entrance, leading into the humorous (and only a little venomous) "California Girls". If Johnny Rotten was the anti-Christ, Stephen Merritt must be the anti-Brian Wilson.

There is no shortage of wit and sharp observation in the lyrics generally. Frank Zappa (RIP) would have been proud. Some of the high points, lyrically and musically, as well as "Three-Way" and "California Girls" are "Too Drunk to Dream", "I'll Dream Alone" and "The Nun's Litany". One or two tracks do not quite make the grade, particularly "Old Fools" and "Mr Mistletoe". Magnetic Fields don't quite have Swans' magic touch with these more funereal numbers. But the album holds up very well overall and works best in its more uptempo and twisted (distorted, even!) pop moments.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Positive Feedback 24 Jan 2008
Format:Audio CD
To those of you familiar with the Handicapping system in horseracing, it is as if the music industry's powers-that-be have issued Messrs Merritt et al with an ultimatum regarding Distortion. Upon hearing this remarkable aural tapestry they would appear to have ensured that the Fields would drench every song with feedback in order to take away some of the listener's glee & create a level playing field for those less talented (mostly everyone else). Upon first listen I suspected that they had suceeded, until the melodies burst through the cracks like Edelweiss and led me to, unwittingly, turn a deaf ear.
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