The Magnetic Fields' fourth album, Get Lost has the distinction of being the most dedicated testimony to its creator's vocal talents of any of his other records. Steven Merritt, despite being gifted with a wonderfully calm and resonant deep voice, has never felt particularly comfortable hearing himself on records. The early Magnetic Fields records feature Susan Anway on vocals, 69 Love Songs features Merritt alongside a number of other vocalists, and The Charm of the Highway Strip fails to fully recognize the potential of its performer. This album, however, captures Merritt perfectly in his element: the bitter, coy, charming, lovelorn balladeer. Oscar Wilde and Frank Sinatra fronting Erasure, perhaps. It's a magnificent album from beginning to end. In my opinion, far and away the best the band has released.

Merritt has said in interviews that he finds the album choppy and poorly put together, but I find the exact opposite to be true. While the songs tend to jump around a bit, emotionally, the instrumentation and emotive depth tie the album together well. Every song is rich and full, the production is elaborately simple: cheap soudning instruments played masterfully and layered well. These recordings would serve well as a template for amateur recording artists trying to make any kind of deeply tracked music -- the tracks slide and blur together without sounding muddy or garbled.

Furthermore, the album is terribly thematic -- the moon is mentioned in four of the thirteen songs; a remarkable nine are concerned with lost love, while the other four are just about love. This is an album for romantics, but don't mistake continuity for repetition -- there are happy songs about love (With Whom to Dance?, You and Me and the Moon) and sad songs about love lost (Don't Look Away -- "I'll be spending my life with your eyes like a knife in my heart"), but there are also wonderfully upbeat songs about what has passed (Love is Lighter than Air) and the singalong tribute to failure and depression, All the Umbrellas in London.

Napster types looking for a taste of the album should download All the Umbrellas in London, Smoke and Mirrors, and Love is Lighter than Air. Those who are looking to fall in love over a cup of tea to the sounds of banjo, Casio keyboards, and bourbon should just buy the album.

Tracks:

  1. Famous
  2. The Desperate Things You Made Me Do
  3. Smoke and Mirrors
  4. With Whom to Dance?
  5. You and Me and the Moon
  6. Don't Look Away
  7. Save a Secret for the Moon
  8. Why I Cry
  9. Love is Lighter than Air
  10. When You're Old and Lonely
  11. The Village in the Morning
  12. All the Umbrellas in London
  13. The Dreaming Moon

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