Those that know me well know that I love the band The Magnetic Fields. I interviewed band leader Stephin Merritt a couple time while writing for the UT Austin newspaper. There was a time when I had the money and vacation time to justify flying across the country to Boston or New York mostly to see MF. And despite dropping out of all the other music-related listservs, I've kept up with the Stephinsongs listserv for 11 years. Yah, supa-devoted fan.
Mr. Merritt does not compose autobiographical lyrics despite the seemingly heart-felt pronouncements in many of his songs. Though a relatively modern element in popular music, the confessional, when-I-say-"I"-I-really-mean-me style of lyrics seems to be the default interpretation of critics and audiences. Nobody really thinks that Bob Marley actually shot the sheriff or that David Byrne was a psycho killer do they?
Recently Merritt was interviewed about the release of the new Magnetic Fields album Distortion and had this to say, “In the lyrics, there’s only so much intimate detail that heterosexual audiences can put up with. So even if I were autobiographically inclined, I don’t think I would go very far into details. Fortunately for me, I’m not at all autobiographically inclined, and when I put autobiography into my songs I’m generally joking.”*
So, if Stephin was autobiographically inclined and if he went into intimate details, then we'd have, what, More Songs About Butt-Fucking? Actually, that sounds like a pretty good idea. I'm officially claiming that title for my new queerpunk band Big Black Dildo. Or Cock. Is Big Black Cock better?**
*Stephin Merritt, Los Angeles Times, Jan. 27.
** I almost can't believe that I went this far for stupid Steve Albini joke. Almost.