Realism - Magnetic Fields
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Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

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  • Summary: Stephin Merritt's final album in his "no-synth trilogy" was largely inspired by 1960s-70s British folk.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 28
  2. Negative: 1 out of 28
  1. The delicate melodies--sung by Merritt and various innocents, including longtime collaborator Claudia Gonson--make all the psychic mayhem go down smoothly, barely leaving a trace of blood on the floor.
  2. After a decade of contrarian, even petulant repudiations of the music that made the Magnetic Fields famous, Realism is capitulation, contrition, and celebration at once. It’s back to basics in the best way.
  3. Realism strikes a compelling balance between cringing honesty and organic chemistry that comes through in its crystalline composition as well as its more rugged manifestations. Complete reinvention isn’t necessarily reached, but isn’t quite the ultimate goal either.
  4. The Magnetic Fields’ eighth album, provides yet another example of why Merritt belongs on the shortlist of America’s greatest songsmiths.
  5. Merritt’s songs are, as ever, as lugubrious yet playful as his voice.
  6. The experiment of the Fields' ninth record sometimes rewards, but too often struggles for urgency and warmth.
  7. Here there are few bright spots and barely any prevailing concept to blame that fact on, leaving Realism as a bad album with nothing but the band behind it to blame.

See all 28 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. AlR.
    Jan 26, 2010
    As good as a Distortion follow-up can get. Merritt writes like no one.
  2. Aug 15, 2010
    In light of everything else Merritt has ever made, this is forgettable. Neat idea, boring execution, nonexistent target demographic. The opening track is classic, but, in the context of the rest of the album, sounds like some lost 70th Love Song, failing to dovetail with the ensuing album's style. Expand