Thursday, February 2, 2012

If you want to write, you need to read

This is really well-written, informed, prose. The fact that I'm the author's mother is beside the point. ;-)
“I Think I Need a New Heart” opens to the standard jangling, upbeat melodies the Magnetic Fields churn out with a deft, casual ease and consistency. The instruments provide a contrast to the emotional pain of the song’s narrator as he breathlessly describes being dumped. It seems like a standard pop variation on a theme. Then the bridge hits. The jingle jangle drops off. It’s Merritt alone with his acoustic guitar, crooning his confessions. “’Cause I’ll always say ‘I love you’ when I mean ‘turn out the light’, and I’ll say ‘let’s run away’ when I just mean ‘stay the night.”

“How fucked up is that?” I tearfully asked my chardonnay when I heard the whole thing. (A comparable sucker punch is “You Fit Into Me,” by Margaret Atwood: “You fit into me/ like a hook into an eye/a fish hook/an open eye.”) After the bridge, the chorus returns with a rich cacophony of incongruously cheerful sounds. Like any good pop song, it starts and ends with the same melody, but The Magnetic Fields put that structure to meaningful use. The chords repeat themselves over and over just as the cycle of dysfunction perpetuates in the characters’ lives. The narrator returns to the titular refrain of needing a new heart. He’s brokenhearted, all right, but not because of this particular dumping—he came out of the box this way.
Read the whole thing at Unbest.

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