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Distortion Image
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

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7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 12 Ratings

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  • Summary: The latest album for the band led by singer/songwriter Stephin Merritt.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
  1. The songs themselves are as lush and prickly as anything Merritt's ever made.
  2. Distortion is really a triumph of the evening-out.
  3. The new record sees him pushing his songbook to extremes in entirely unexpected fashion.
  4. Distortion isn't an easy listen, with its strict, difficult palette. But it's an endlessly fascinating and provocative one.
  5. Distortion is above cynical reproach--effortlessly modern and definitively 2008, yet flitting with the ghosts of Shields, Madder Rose (ask your 90s alt.indie expert uncle) and The Jesus And Mary Chain.
  6. It's a double-sided hook that clears the murkiness from the remaining five tracks, while simultaneously improving the first half (especially tracks like 'California Girls' and 'Please Stop Dancing') when spun for a second or third time.
  7. There are some entertaining songs here ('Drive On, Driver,' 'I’ll Dream Alone') but overall, there is scarcely an affective moment on Distortion. [Winter 2008, p.83]

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 7
  2. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. JohnMcC.
    Apr 3, 2008
    9
    Tuneless? I think not. A great pop album reminiscent of earlier Magnetic Fields records.
  2. JonR
    Jan 25, 2008
    9
    This is really a great album. Pessimism abound but these are some wonderfully crafted pop songs.
  3. JasonA.
    Jan 16, 2008
    8
    This is a really great album. Fans of The Magnetic Fields won
  4. ScottM
    Jan 15, 2008
    7
    It tends to wear out its welcome a bit but there are some pretty solid songs contained within.
  5. Feb 5, 2015
    5
    As an album "Distortion" relies heavily on the sonic characteristic after which it is named. A set of throwaway pop songs that hover betweenAs an album "Distortion" relies heavily on the sonic characteristic after which it is named. A set of throwaway pop songs that hover between the quality marks of standard and decent that are given a whole additional dimension through the use of pedals and other studio trickery. Despite this innovation, there is no escaping the fact that the songs are middling. The likes of "Xavier Says" really doesn't belong in the same back catalog as 69LS. Hardcore fans will enjoy and even love but as curious music listener just checking stuff out its a disappointment. Expand
  6. scotts
    Jan 28, 2008
    5
    Not bad. not great. some solid tracks, but overall a less than average MF record. if you listen hard enough you can tell the songs are well Not bad. not great. some solid tracks, but overall a less than average MF record. if you listen hard enough you can tell the songs are well written, however, with all the production and "distortion" it's hard to really enjoy it. Expand
  7. BrianS.
    Jan 28, 2008
    2
    All the tunefulness from the previous album is gone, replaced by a series of songs that are more kitsch than substance. If "Washington, D.C." All the tunefulness from the previous album is gone, replaced by a series of songs that are more kitsch than substance. If "Washington, D.C." was your favorite song from "69 Love Songs," you'll like this record. If you're looking for real songs, such as "I Don't Believe in the Sun" and "Long Forgotten Fairytale," you'll be disappointed. Expand