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Stephin Merritt
Obscurities - Merge
FILTER Grade: 84%

By A.D. Amorosi on August 24, 2011

 

Stephin Merritt

The Sondheim of our generation is such an epically enigmatic and precise songwriter that even his throwaways are better than most people’s studied, full-blown releases. Rapier-smart and deeply voiced, the flinty Magnetic Fields main man pored through his back pages to come up with corrosive cassette-only releases from the K label, moribund items from the audiobook version of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline (of which Merritt soundtracked a musical) and a hauntingly cute yet cutting “Forever and a Day,” a ukulele-filled love song from an unfinished sci-fi musical that would make Eddie Vedder blush. Best of all, there’s “The Sun and the Sea and the Sky,” an unreleased take from one of pop’s greatest achievements, 69 Love Songs, that makes Obscurities worth the admission all by itself.

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