Maybe we were a little too quick to crown Morrissey as the Master of Melancholy, cause I’ll be damned if Stephin Merritt doesn’t come in as a VERY close second. The Magnetic Fields are just one of many mopey, dark projects Merritt has been involved with (including the 6ths, the Future Bible Heroes, and the Gothic Archies, to name a few others). But Merritt’s role as the arranger, songwriter, and producer in the Magnetic Fields may represent the best of his talent as a pop musician and overall Sad Sack. Merritt has long been known to expertly punch out moody, confused and jubilant pop song after pop song, but few journalists and/or filmmakers have ever gained access to Merritt’s personal life (though god knows they’d like to).
Well, all that’s about to change. This spring, directors Kerthy Fix and Gail O’Hara plan to release a documentary that chronicles the last 10 years of Merritt’s career and personal life. The film will reportedly gloss over Merritt’s beginnings as a naive copy editor for Spin Magazine and go on to cover his growth as a musician and as a prolific writer for Time Out New York. The film, due sometime in the next few months, will be screened as a part of San Francisco’s SF360 Film+Club series, and will then go on to make the necessary festival rounds. You’ll have to sit tight for the doc’s title though, because that’s not ready yet.
If you’re too ants in the pants to wait for the film’s release, you may satiate yourself in the meantime by checking out the new Magnetic Fields’ release Realism, out on Nonsuch next Tuesday (January 26). That’s in four days!!! And if you can’t wait till THEN, well I feel rather sorry for you—but no really, you can check out all of Realism streaming on the Fields’ MySpace page. Check out a video for “We Are Having a Hootenanny” over at the Chocolate Grinder.