Tags: merritt

in motion

13

"You should be using your powers for good," he said, frowning at me.

"What?"

"Zombie musicians? I don't care about that crap."

"He's the one who sings 'She-Devils Of The Deep'."

"What? That guy?" He started waving his arms around. "I love that song! Love it! He's the best! Okay, now I'm mad for a different reason."

"What's the problem?"

"I would have totally enjoyed your journal entry if I'd known who you were talking about. You should have written something to let me know I cared."

*

They don't make anniversary cards inscribed Just To Let You Know You Care, but if they did, I could give him one today. Thirteen years ago (I was a child bride), this weird Swedish guy and I spontaneously decided that getting married wouldn't ruin our relationship after all, and ran off to the nearest Justice of the Peace. So far so good. So good.

Happy anniversary, mister. Thank you for a life filled with the greatest fights, and continual reminders of how much we care.
in motion

how I learned to stop worrying and love the merritt

There were obvious ways it could have happened and didn't. Friends have tried to make me appreciate his music, tried to explain the appeal, to no avail. I've hardly received a mixtape for the past few years that didn't include the Magnetic Fields, and I didn't hit the skip button, but I was just "eh". Prolonged exposure didn't do it. Seeing people I respect go gaga over him didn't do it. Sitting on a log by a bonfire one night while Stephin Merritt sat on another log plunking out lovely tunes on a mandolin: that should have done it, but it didn't take. I remember ages ago, to my shame, making fun of susansugarspun's musical tastes, when I was stuck in her car listening to Future Bible Heroes. I'm afraid I called it something along the lines of "depressed cerebral droning." (Which, sure, is true, but completely misses the awesomeness.) It didn't happen no matter how much I tried to make it happen. I tried! His lyrics were smart. The music was skillful. I wanted to like the songs. But they left me cold.

(By the way, that was my first-ever attempt at embedding a lj user link in my post! I think it went ok.)

I had to take the long route around to come to an appreciation of Mr. Merritt's music. I've been listening to Deadsy, never realising that "My Only Friend" was a cover. They play it as sort of gothic emo art-metal, and they rock it. But then I stumbled across the original Magnetic Fields version, and revelation finally hit. In contrast to Deadsy's galloping industrial crunch, Merritt's music was delicately melodic, and his voice sounded soulful, heartfelt.

Just on a zombie scale of expressiveness.

Understand that I love zombies when I say I mean that in the best way. Because there's no shortage of emotion flying around when you're dealing with zombies, right, but they never resort to cheap posturing or crowd-pleasing flourishes to make it happen. They come crashing through, doing their low-affect thing, and before you know it, your brains are getting eaten. This is how I'm now experiencing the music of Stephin Merritt. Brain-munchingly good.

So okay, I give in, I like him. I like his music. Maybe a lot. And Susan, please accept my belated apology. You were right.

Tangentially related: Hannah Wolf Bowen has just put her beautiful short story "Everything Is Better With Zombies" online for your reading pleasure. I recommend it.