The Magnetic Fields (with Stephin Merritt – middle)
For close on twenty years now, Stephin Merritt has been recording what can only be described as pop masterpieces under the name “Magnetic Fields”. Stephen’s songs have a way of crawling inside you, and then filling you with raw emotion until you explode. Cliched that may be, but it certainly doesn’t make it any less true.
Recently, Stephin appeared on PRI’s “Fair Game” show, and performed his heartbreaking single, “The Nun’s Litany“, live, with just his ukelele as accompaniment. Magnetic Fields fans will know that this is not the first time he’s done so live; in fact, there is a Channel 4 video of him doing just that.
That said, this version, to me, is filled with even more longing, even more yearning, and even more heartbreak.
I just wished that he performed the vocals on this song in the recorded version, which appeared on their latest release, “Distortion“. Instead, those were performed by Shirley Simms. While she does so admirably on the record, nothing could live up to this version, for me.
I want to be a brothel worker,
I’ve always been treated like one.
– Stephin Merrit, “The Nun’s Litany”
Listen. Love. Support.