The Magnetic Fields - I - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Magnetic Fields - I

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2004-05-03

Is it art or is it affectation? On i, the Magnetic Fields' much anticipated follow-up to the critical and commercial success of 69 Love Songs, Stephen Merritt--the brains behind the band--sets himself a new target: 14 songs with titles all beginning with the letter "i". So, it's a simpler goal than before, which allows Mr Merritt to really stretch his creative brain in the right direction: the songs themselves. As 69 Love Songs proved, Merritt is a dab hand with a catchy ditty and i has loads of them. "I Don't Really Love You Anymore" has a jaunty beat that's in direct contrast to its rather downbeat title, while "I Thought You Were My Boyfriend" is a great take on 80s synth-pop, one that suits his lazy crooning voice perfectly. But where its predecessor had an obvious tenderness (due in no small part to its subject matter), i often veers too close to pretentiousness. Too much of it sounds like cleverness for cleverness's sake. Merritt is obviously a very talented songwriter. He just shouldn't always try so hard to prove it. --Robert Burrow

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