WOWEE ZOWEE (8)
February 21, 2018
One in a series of enthusiastic posts, contributed by HILOBROW friends and regulars, on the subject of our favorite albums of the Nineties (1994–2003). A new installment in this series will appear each Wednesday during 2018.
GET LOST | THE MAGNETIC FIELDS | 1995
The basic move of Get Lost is ascent: the upward-dancing keyboard arpeggio in “You and Me and the Moon,” the sad buoyancy of “Love is Lighter than Air,” the message written on the black balloon and released into the black sky in “Save a Secret for the Moon,” and the endless upward tone that launches the same song. Some people look downward when they’re down, and some people — the ones this record is concerned with — look upward, at the thing that’s getting away from them, getting farther and smaller.
And at the moon. It’s what’s up there. Three songs out of thirteen, the two I mentioned and “The Dreaming Moon,” are moon songs. But there’s no June. (“Moons in June? I’ve given up on that stuff,” Merritt sings in the underwater-ukulele number “With Whom To Dance?”) In an older Magnetic Fields record, love goes home to Paris in the spring. Now, lighter than air, it “rises through the falling snow,” getting colder and closer to the moon as it goes. This is a record about going out to parties that you listen to alone in your room. Or I did, anyway. It’s a record about going out to parties and standing outside in the snow and looking up at the moon. Which I also did. “Get lost!” means I don’t like you but getting lost, if you must, is also a way of getting away.
Maybe all these songs are moon songs. The record starts with “Famous,” which is also about escaping the stupid, obvious ground you start out on. “Baby, you could be famous / you could see your marble face all around / Baby, you could be famous / if you could just get out of this town.” Better than going to the moon — you can be the moon. Cold and made of stone. Everyone looks at you, no one can touch you.
Am I making this sound like a drag? It isn’t a drag. It’s pop. The beat pulses, the keyboards warble and ascend. At a party, or alone in your room, or alone at a party, you can dance to it. (I did.)
WOWEE ZOWEE: Stephanie Burt on UNISEX | Anindita Basu Sempere on UNDER THE PINK | Mark Kingwell on DUMMY | Bill Nericcio on AMOR PROHIBIDO | Sherri Wasserman on HIPS AND MAKERS | Mimi Lipson on THANK YOU | John Overholt on BEN FOLDS FIVE | Jordan Ellenberg on GET LOST | Chelsey Johnson on PERSONAL BEST | Marilyn Snell on MAXINQUAYE | Dan Fox on DIFFERENT CLASS | Devin McKinney on IF YOU’RE FEELING SINISTER | Alice Boone on MTV UNPLUGGED (ALICE IN CHAINS) | Rob Wringham on SPICE | Joe Alterio on BEATS, RHYMES AND LIFE | Jason Loeffler on SECOND TOUGHEST IN THE INFANTS | Rick Pinchera on EITHER/OR | Josh Glenn on THE LONESOME CROWDED WEST | Jennifer Krasinski on SUPA DUPA FLY | Sara Ryan on DIG ME OUT | Luc Sante on MEZZANINE | Molly Wright Steenson on I CAN HEAR THE HEART BEATING AS ONE | Franklin Bruno on ENGLAND MADE ME | Michael Campochiaro on IS THIS DESIRE? | Adrienne Crew on CALIFORNICATION | Drew Daniel on I SEE A DARKNESS | Veda Hille on THE SOFT BULLETIN | Vanessa Berry on TEENAGE SNUFF FILM | Tom Kipp on GET SKINTIGHT | David Hirmes on DOPETHRONE | John Hilgart on YORK BLVD. | Deborah Wassertzug on JOURNEY TO THE END OF THE NIGHT | Adam McGovern on INVINCIBLE SUMMER | Brian Berger on TIRED SOUNDS OF… | Michael Grasso on MUSIC HAS THE RIGHT TO CHILDREN | Jen Collins on HURRAH | Flourish Klink on THE TEACHES OF PEACHES | Judith Zissman on TALLAHASSEE | Lauren Oliver on SOUND-DUST | Jason Cohen on IS THIS IT | Matthew De Abaitua on THE RAINBOW CHILDREN | Jenny Davidson on TIME (THE REVELATOR) | Crystal Durant on LIVE THROUGH THIS | Gordon Dahlquist on GARBAGE | Erin M. Routson on WASHING MACHINE | Carl Wilson on TEMPTING | Jessamyn West on ALL HAIL WEST TEXAS | Kaleb Horton on STREETCORE | Tom Nealon on BAZOOKA TOOTH | Erik Davis on DOPESMOKER | David Levine on FEVER TO TELL | Deb Chachra on MASS ROMANTIC.
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