Americans on Mexican Cruise Reportedly Chant “Build the Wall”

mtvU Spring Break 2014 – Day 1

Credit:
Larry Busacca/Getty Images
   

You’d suppose you wouldn’t have to advise vacationers to not taunt the locals once they go overseas — however apparently some Americans want some higher residence coaching.

According to Peruvian vacationer Anaximandro Amable Bruga, his enjoyment of a “pirate cruise” in Cancún was dampened by a gaggle of presumably drunk American vacationers chanting “construct the wall” aboard the ship.

In an impassioned Facebook publish, Anaximandro, who was on honeymoon together with his Mexican-born spouse, describes how a small group of spring breakers from the U.S. had been chanting the Trump rally cry.

[Translation from Spanish] “At the top of all of it, a gaggle of Americans (I do not know in the event that they had been drunk or in “full” use of their colleges), started to chant drivel like, ‘Build the wall!'” the newlywed recounted.

Capitan_Hook_Cancun_5


Anaximandro as soon as wished to consider solely a small variety of Americans consider the “stupidity and ignorance” he says he witnessed on the cruise.

However, he now feels, since half of Americans who voted in 2016 selected Trump, “at the least half of Americans consider all of us who stay south of Texas are Mexicans.”

mexico


The publish concludes by encouraging all his Latinx pals to face up for his or her brethren.

“Latin Americans: When you see a brother being insulted or crushed, do not be a part of help the abuser, do not be a part of his beating by making enjoyable of him, insulting him, or creating memes.

Defend him, as a result of they’re actually insulting you, too. Feel it. We share the identical story.”

He asserts, “Tolerance is not all the time good,” particularly relating to assaults on a complete ethnicity’s dignity. 

“Because that is not tolerance; that’s to be dumb, with out character.”

He concluded his plea by reminding readers, “We weren’t raised to be anybody’s cute canine nor to place up with anybody’s boot. Long stay a united Latin America!”

Lena Dunham Shows Off Her Slim Figure on the Human Rights Campaign Gala (PHOTOS)

The Human Rights Campaign 2017 Los Angeles Gala Dinner – Inside

Credit:
Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Human Rights Campaign
   

Lena Dunham appears superb!

Stepping out to help the Human Rights Campaign on March 18, she captured everybody’s consideration along with her slim determine.

The 30-year-old actress was joined by Katy Perry, America Ferrera, and different stars on Saturday evening.

Wearing a black halter neck costume, a crimson scarf, and crimson excessive heels, the Girls actress appeared gorgeous.

The star has been figuring out with private coach Tracy Anderson, however for her it’s not about shedding weight, it’s all about being wholesome.

“I think for me the big thing was that Tracy just very clearly wasn’t trying to change my body,” she instructed People journal.

“I got here to her and was like, ‘I have endometriosis, I have chronic physical pain, I just want to feel stronger I just want to have a stronger core, I want to feel like I have more power throughout my day, how do I get there?’”

Endometriosis is a dysfunction through which tissues that usually line the uterus develop outdoors of it.

ELLE’s Annual Women In Television Celebration

Credit:

Michael Buckner/Getty Images

   

Trainer Tracy, who works with different celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez, added that Lena “knows what she wants for her body.”

Above is Lena at ELLE’s Annual Women in Television Celebration in 2015.

“Women always think that they need to look like someone else,” the coach stated. “I really want examples like Lena, like Jennifer, like Gwyneth, that are really proud of who they are, and they just want to be healthy and balanced for themselves.”

Alex Lahey Makes The Basics Feel Spectacular At SXSW

One of the downsides of going to overview Lana Del Rey final night time was leaving Stereogum’s unofficial SXSW social gathering proper when among the pageant’s most enjoyable new rock bands had been developing. Fortunately, that is SXSW, the place thrilling new rock bands cram a bazillion reveals into 4 or 5 days, so I used to be capable of be thrilled by Melkbelly and Charly Bliss at different occasions this week. The one remaining act on my must-see record going into Saturday was Alex Lahey, the whip-smart Australian indie rocker who we lately named an Artist To Watch. Saturday afternoon at Brooklyn Vegan’s day social gathering, the watching lastly commenced.

This was the final set of a marathon week, however somewhat than tiring out Lahey and her band, all these gigs appeared to have sharpened them right into a well-rehearsed unit. They burned by every track with an informal ease, forceful with out ever tipping over into punk-rock depth. At their core Lahey’s songs are constructed from intelligent lyrics set to sneakily catchy melodies in opposition to a easy array of guitar chords — pop-rock by the fundamentals, in different phrases. But every of these elements matches in precisely the correct place, and Lahey expands upon them with preparations that add simply sufficient seasoning with out getting in the way in which. It is a basic not-reinventing-the-wheel situation, performed to near-perfection by a proficient songwriter with a compelling standpoint.

CREDIT: Chris DeVille/Stereogum

Their first two songs highlighted the guitar interaction between Lahey and Sam Humphrey. On “Wes Anderson,” Humphrey’s delicate slide guitar work helped a starry-eyed love track obtain liftoff. Then, on “Ivy League,” self-taught guitarist Lahey took the lead with some much less typical six-string spasms. It jogged my memory of the tradeoff in Wilco between Nels Cline’s studied precision and Jeff Tweedy’s extra rambunctious outbursts, solely on this case the lead work was tucked into concise little pop songs somewhat than sprawling jam classes.

A sequence of recent tracks in the course of the set heightened my anticipation for Lahey’s in-progress Dead Oceans debut. On “Perth Traumatic Stress Disorder,” Lahey lamented a breakup within the Western Australian metropolis; its title wouldn’t be the final occasion of Lahey inflecting emotional tumult with some comedian reduction. “I Haven’t Been Taking Care Of Myself” started along with her questioning aloud, “Is this blood on my dress or is it just red wine?” and ended with a shock gang sing-along that elevated the track to rhapsodic heights. Another massive end boosted “I Want Ü” — “like Justin Bieber’s doing it now. It’s called an umlaut, the dots. I don’t know if Justin knows that, but I know it.”

These new tracks had a delightful early Strokes vibe — sturdy, swinging rhythm sections and interlocking guitar chords galore — however filtered by Lahey’s private aesthetic. As she labored her approach by a fast 30-minute set, I used to be frequently impressed by her capability to search out new life in outdated fundamentals. Her songs profit from the musicality of a band geek (which she was) and the wit of a comic book actress (which she may very well be), and apparently that’s all it takes to make tunes like “Let’s Go Out” and “You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me” hit like anthems in actual life. That type of alchemy is the mark of a gifted songwriter who hopefully has many extra hits left to put in writing.

The Lazy Girl Diary: thalassotherapy or find out how to have a I swim day by day within the sea physique with out truly swimming

«I like to recommend waking up early tomorrow morning, and going for a revitalizing stroll alongside the seaside, to soak up the iodine of seaside air and begin your journey in one of the best ways potential». Lying on a low sofa on the ocean terrace of the Tombolo Talasso Resort, I’m listening to the physician’s recommendation: solely unaware of simply how lazy the woman in entrance of her is, she is making an attempt to provide me recommendations on find out how to make the very best of my two days of rest in Maremma, Southern Tuscany… And whereas she talks, I’m already making an attempt to provide you with a believable excuse to skip the stroll at daybreak, to go for a a lot lazy-girl-friendly nap within the pool, as an alternative. I’ve to say that, other than the workers’s odd concepts about walks at daybreak, this feels identical to the place I would like: I’ve 48 hours forward of me throughout which essentially the most lively factor I can be doing is stroll between the totally different tubs of the Talasso path, and check out not to go to sleep throughout remedy, if potential.

[read more after the gallery]


The view
The sunset from the terrace
The swimming pool is AMAZING

The cause why I’m right here is to grasp what thalassotherapy is, and what its advantages are. It’s all about making the very best of all the weather that water can supply: saltwater, sand and dust from the seabed, seaweed, and customarily the everyday microclimate of seaside areas. You know that feeling of getting back from a vacation, and feeling like you might be extra lovely? It’s not nearly being tanned, although that additionally helps. The factor is, spending a variety of time in seawater is nice for flushing extra liquids out of your physique, preventing cellulite and reshaping your determine. If you additionally go for a superb swim, in fact the impact can be doubled, however you’re on vacation in any case… So doing nothing in any respect is completely acceptable, too. The thought right here is: take all the advantages you’ll all the time have from spending a weekend on the seaside, and pair that with a sequence of therapies that exploit the potential of the ocean in one of the best ways potential. The outcomes can be explosive.

Imagine falling asleep wrapped in a warm-water blanket that cradles you as in case you had been immersed in sea water, whereas preserving your physique on the excellent temperature for it to soak up the lively elements of the locally-sourced mud being utilized throughout your physique. The mud used for at Tombolo is solely regionally made utilizing Caulerpa and Zostera seaweeds, each with draining and decongestant properties. You can have your mud remedy after being handled to an oil and salt scrub: this can be utilized onto your physique when you lie beneath a lightweight rain of seawater. I do know you may’t presumably think about it… It’s simply stratospheric, and I’m not simply speaking about the way it feels, I’m additionally speaking concerning the results of this in your pores and skin.

[read more after the gallery]

A mix of oil and salt scrub is applied onto your body while you lie under a light rain of seawater
A corner of the SPA
Imagine falling asleep wrapped in a warm-water blanket that cradles you as if you were immersed in sea water, while keeping your body at the ideal temperature for it to absorb the active ingredients of the locally-sourced mud being applied all over your body
The mud used for at Tombolo is entirely locally made using Caulerpa and Zostera seaweeds, both with draining and decongestant properties

It’s not a coincidence that there are such a lot of merchandise that attempt to get hold of the identical advantages, from people who comprise sea salts — not solely scrubs, but additionally cleansers and masks in your face and physique — to those who give attention to seaweed, from anti-cellulite mud to moisturizing therapies that make your pores and skin amazingly mushy.

[read more after the gallery]

Boscia Wakame Firming Hydrogen Mask
Sephora Collection Algae Face Mask  
Bobbi Brown Skin Nourish Coral Grass & Green Algae Moisture Mask
Verb Sea Spray 
Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub With Sea Salt
Bumble and bumble Seaweed Shampoo 
Bumble and bumble Seaweed Conditioner 
Philosophy Purity Made Simple Mask
Biotherm Wonder Mud
Origins Clear Improvement Detoxifiying Charcoal Body Scrub
Pupa Sali dal Mondo Scrub Salino
Spa Of The World™ Mediterranean Sea Salt 
Collistar Fango D'Alghe Anticellulite
Hannes Dòttir Seamasque 
La Mer The Concentrate 
Peter Thomas Roth Blue Marine Algae Intense Hydrating Mask 

Of course, having it executed to you in a thalassotherapy heart may be very totally different, within the first place, as a result of therapies include the additional benefit of the wellness therapies you’ll have within the tubs. Tombolo has 5 of them, stuffed with heated seawater, every with totally different traits and capabilities, like firming hydro-massage and vascular train, whose results are aided by the distinction between cold and warm. The different distinction is that at a spa like Tombolo you may go into the ocean proper after the therapies, and that you can be surrounded by lovely greenery that can make you chill out, enhancing the constructive results of the therapies you had. Who is aware of, perhaps subsequent time the physician will handle to get me to stand up for a stroll daybreak, too…

Tombolo Talasso Resort has 5 tubs filled with heated seawater, each with different characteristics and functions
Tombolo Talasso Resort
Tombolo Talasso Resort
Tombolo Talasso Resort
Tombolo Talasso Resort
Tombolo Talasso Resort

Masika Kalysha Storms Off ‘L&HH’ Set Over Fetty Wap’s Ex, Alexis Sky

masika alexis sky


Producers of the favored sequence reached out to rapper Fetty Wap’s ex, Alexis Sky, and invited her to shoot a scene at a karaoke bar with the “Trap Queen” rapper’s child mama, Masika.

They did so with out the brand new mommy’s information, and she or he reportedly stormed off set refusing to shoot along with her nemesis, in line with TMZ.

 

“I am not giving that f—king peasant no airtime,” she exclaimed as she refused to movie with the previous dancer.

To make issues worse, Alexis got here via with new pals Nikki Mudarris and Hazel E, each of whom have had beef with Masika prior to now.

 

While she and Nikki have at the least determined to be cordial, her relationship with Hazel E is a little more broken, as their early-on feud over Yung Berg spilled over into the next seasons.

 

Their newest rift got here when Hazel claimed she labored with Fetty on a track.  Masika then referred to as her out for making an attempt to jumpstart her profession by mendacity, believing Fetty by no means permitted of the verse.

 

Masika and Alexis have loads of earlier spats as properly, always going backwards and forwards on-line.

Most lately, the 31-year-old referred to as out Alexis for accusing Fetty of releasing their joint intercourse tape, believing she did it herself in an effort to “Kim Kardashian her way up.”

 

The singer’s rep advised TMZ that her consumer is assured sufficient in her personal storyline that she doesn’t want the additional drama Alexis will undoubtedly convey.

 

Are you wanting ahead to the brand new season of L&HH: Hollywood? Sound off beneath.

 

The New Pornographers, Jamila Woods, & More Heat Up Stereogum’s SXSW 2017 Day Showcase

On Wednesday, Stereogum returned to the Mazda Studio At Empire Garage for our second official showcase of SXSW 2017, a various lineup of 4 artists working with completely completely different sounds from each other. There was one thing to be enthusiastic about in every, and one thing for everybody, however Tkay Maidza kicked issues off for the afternoon and proved to be one of many revelations from this 12 months’s SXSW to this point.

Maidza’s a Zimbabwe-born, Australian-raised rapper who attracts as a lot on pop and dance music for her distinctive sound. Over the course of her set, she rapped and sang over huge glistening membership beats, often sounding harking back to a DFA-style interpretation of old-school home, often sounding like a extra up to date, shinier model. At completely different moments of her set, I used to be reminded of M.I.A. or of Shamir if all of Shamir’s tune’s had been barely gnarlier variations of “On The Regular.” But Maidza additionally finds her approach to brighter corners—typically utilizing synth traces stuffed with tropical colours—and he or she performs with a magnanimity and effervescence that’s completely infectious. It was one of the vital straight-up enjoyable units at SXSW 2017 up to now, and a becoming approach to kick off our second day on the Mazda Studio.

After a couple of chillier days in Austin, issues had began to get sunnier and hotter yesterday, and all of the artists on the invoice yesterday match the temper completely in their very own means. After Maidza’s jubilant dance get together, Hand Habits took the stage for a set of languid, stunning spectral-rock that hung and simmered within the Texan air. Having put in time enjoying backup for Weyes Blood and Kevin Morby, Hand Habits marks the solo debut of Meg Duffy, and he or she’s now touring behind her first file below the moniker, Wildly Idle (Humble Before The Void), which lately got here out. Though Hand Habits’ Mazzy Star-esque haze is fairly removed from the serpentine hip-hop soul of Jamila Woods, the 2 paired collectively properly in the midst of the showcase because the mellower center passage.

Hand Habits

Woods is each bit as gorgeous as you’d anticipate her to be, a singular presence onstage who’s in a position to weave her voice round seemingly something. She debuted a brand new tune referred to as “Giovanni” however the spotlight was when she closed with a crushing efficiency of “Blk Girl Soldier,” the standout from her 2016 launch HEAVN (considered one of our favorites from final 12 months).

Jamila Woods

Finally, indie-rock stalwarts the New Pornographers closed the showcase out within the late afternoon. The always-shifting collective is about to launch their wonderful new album Whiteout Conditions, which expands on the slick, synth-driven tracks that dominated 2014’s Brill Bruisers. The set was anchored by that album’s highlights (the title observe by no means ceases to really feel such as you’re getting hit by a bulldozer product of neon lights) and featured a number of of one of the best songs from Whiteout Conditions, together with its personal title observe and its lead single “High Ticket Attractions.” As with any New Pornos album or present, it was a parade of hook-laden songs, that ended the showcase with an enormous singalong and a tune (or a number of) caught in your head.

All-over print development for Spring Summer 2017

While NYC is snowed in, shivering by means of a chilly spell, the solar appears to be blessing our slice of the world once more, and we instantly really feel like exchanging our black garments for our spring garments, which often are available happier colours. Spring is beginning subsequent week, and we’re telling you prematurely: coloration gained’t reduce it subsequent season, what you will want is all-over prints! If you suppose you’ll construct your look on just one sample, you’re lacking the enjoyable half: the thought might be to combine contrasting colours, complicated graphics, stripes and polka dots, flowers and animal prints, all joyful collectively. MORE IS MORE AND WE LOVE MORE! If you want this temper, and wish to be ready for the approaching months, you can see a couple of concepts in our gallery, from the Spring Summer 2017 reveals. What do you suppose? Trend authorised?


Balenciaga
Altuzarra
Altuzarra
Thom Browne
Thom Browne
Roberto Cavalli
Chloé
Chloé
Akris
Giamba
Giamba
Giamba
Gucci
Gucci
Michael Kors
Michael Kors
Prada
Prada
Prada
Prada
Prada
Stella McCartney
Tory Burch
Tory Burch

16 Rappers Who Aren’t Afraid to Call Out Donald Trump: Snoop Dogg, T.I & More

Hip hop has all the time had a robust curiosity in politics.

Whether it was Chuck D within the 80’s, Mos Def within the 90’s or Killer Mike at the moment, MCs have all the time made room for political discourse inside their music and life.

T.I. has been significantly lively currently, calling out Donald Trump and his supporters at each flip, together with coming to the protection of fellow rapper, Snoop Dogg.

Check out these politically lively rappers above.

← Tip: Use keyboard arrows to navigate →

Eminem

Em unleashed a barrage of insults directed at Trump on Big Sean’s track, “No Favors.”

Em unleashed a barrage of insults directed at Trump on Big Sean’s track, “No Favors.”

Killer Mike

Killer Mike

The rapper stumped for Bernie Sanders till his defeat, then switched his assist to Hilary. He’s since critiqued Trump’s win as a millionaire who efficiently bamboozled poor whites.

The rapper stumped for Bernie Sanders till his defeat, then switched his assist to Hilary. He’s since critiqued Trump’s win as a millionaire who efficiently bamboozled poor whites.

Busta Rhymes

Busta Rhymes

During his 2017 Grammy efficiency alongside A Tribe Called Quest, the Brooklyn-bred rapper referred to the President as “Agent Orange.”

During his 2017 Grammy efficiency alongside A Tribe Called Quest, the Brooklyn-bred rapper referred to the President as “Agent Orange.”

Wyclef Jean

Wyclef Jean

The guitarist saved it brief throughout a efficiency the place he proclaimed to the gang “F—k Donald Trump if he don’t like Mexicans.”

The guitarist saved it brief throughout a efficiency the place he proclaimed to the gang “F—k Donald Trump if he don’t like Mexicans.”

Talib Kweli

Talib Kweli

The “Get By” rapper’s Twitter web page has change into a vessel of Donald Trump call-outs for the reason that actuality star introduced his run for presidency.

The “Get By” rapper’s Twitter web page has change into a vessel of Donald Trump call-outs for the reason that actuality star introduced his run for presidency.

Waka Flocka Flame

Waka Flocka Flame

The rapper actually wiped his ass with a fan’s Trump jersey whereas on stage.

The rapper actually wiped his ass with a fan’s Trump jersey whereas on stage.

YG

YG

The Compton rapper claims his track “F—k Donald Trump” prompted the key service to contact him and even threaten to take away his albums from retailer cabinets and on-line.

The Compton rapper claims his track “F—k Donald Trump” prompted the key service to contact him and even threaten to take away his albums from retailer cabinets and on-line.

Mac Miller

Mac Miller

Donald Trump known as out Mac through Twitter asking for a lower of his earnings for his track, “Donald Trump,” even threatening to sue the rapper. Mac responded by calling Trump a “dickhead.”

Donald Trump known as out Mac through Twitter asking for a lower of his earnings for his track, “Donald Trump,” even threatening to sue the rapper. Mac responded by calling Trump a “dickhead.”

Jeezy

Jeezy

Before Donald’s election, the Atlanta native went on a Twitter rant calling the millionaire an “illegitimate candidate.”

“He’s simply making a mockery of the presidential candidacy to assist construct his private model. Our Latino brothers and sisters are a giant a part of this nation and should not be used as your agenda.”

Before Donald’s election, the Atlanta native went on a Twitter rant calling the millionaire an “illegitimate candidate.”

“He’s simply making a mockery of the presidential candidacy to assist construct his private model. Our Latino brothers and sisters are a giant a part of this nation and should not be used as your agenda.”

Meek Mill

Meek Mill

The rapper took subject with Donald referring to Barack Obama as “Our nice African American President.”

“It’s clear @realdonaldtrump been racist, saying our ‘African American president’ it is plain to see! We will not miss u when u perish!” 

The rapper took subject with Donald referring to Barack Obama as “Our nice African American President.”

“It’s clear @realdonaldtrump been racist, saying our ‘African American president’ it is plain to see! We will not miss u when u perish!” 

Rae Sremmurd

Rae Sremmurd

Even whereas having a track known as “Like Trump,” the hip hop duo denounced the present president whereas he was nonetheless campaigning early 2016.

“F-k Donald Trump. We’re voting for Bernie Sanders,” Swae Lee exclaimed on-stage at SXSW.

Even whereas having a track known as “Like Trump,” the hip hop duo denounced the present president whereas he was nonetheless campaigning early 2016.

“F-k Donald Trump. We’re voting for Bernie Sanders,” Swae Lee exclaimed on-stage at SXSW.

Chance the Rapper

Chance the Rapper
The Grammy winner known as out the president for talking about his hometown of Chicago prefer it was a “third world country.” 

“It seems like he was saying he was going to struggle with Chicago. I don’t like to have a look at s—t by means of that lens.” 

The Grammy winner known as out the president for talking about his hometown of Chicago prefer it was a “third world country.” 

“It seems like he was saying he was going to struggle with Chicago. I don’t like to have a look at s—t by means of that lens.” 

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj

The rapper known as out the president on his current Muslim ban that affected the lives of 1000’s of immigrants, as she immigrated to America from Trinidad herself as a toddler.

The rapper known as out the president on his current Muslim ban that affected the lives of 1000’s of immigrants, as she immigrated to America from Trinidad herself as a toddler.

The Weeknd

The Weeknd

The Canadian was set to carry out on Jimmy Kimmel Live May of final 12 months, however pulled out in protest as soon as he found Donald Trump could be his fellow visitor.

The Canadian was set to carry out on Jimmy Kimmel Live May of final 12 months, however pulled out in protest as soon as he found Donald Trump could be his fellow visitor.

Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg

The rapper jokingly requested Drake to assist him transfer to Canada when Trump was elected, and just lately launched a music video of Donald’s likeness being shot.

The rapper jokingly requested Drake to assist him transfer to Canada when Trump was elected, and just lately launched a music video of Donald’s likeness being shot.

T.I.

T.I.

The rapper and actuality star known as out his fellow MC Kanye West for assembly with Trump earlier this 12 months, believing the president has a higher plan to win over black Americans by pretending to be buddy-buddy with black celebs.

He additionally clapped again at Donald for tweeting Snoop Dogg’s profession is failing, calling Snoop a legend earlier than unleashing his wrath on the president.

“@snoopdogg is a F—king Legend u f—king Tangerine Tanned, Muskrat scrotum skin, Lacefront Possum fur Wig wearing, Alternative fact, Atomic Dog diarrhea face ass man!!!!”

“Leave our legends names out ya f—cking old ass puppy piss smelling ass mouth & continue to focus on dividing minorities, building barriers, alienating immigrants, & f—cking this country up like u been doin…. #UWannaBeDictator #PresidentialLevelF—kboy.”

The rapper and actuality star known as out his fellow MC Kanye West for assembly with Trump earlier this 12 months, believing the president has a higher plan to win over black Americans by pretending to be buddy-buddy with black celebs.

He additionally clapped again at Donald for tweeting Snoop Dogg’s profession is failing, calling Snoop a legend earlier than unleashing his wrath on the president.

“@snoopdogg is a F—king Legend u f—king Tangerine Tanned, Muskrat scrotum skin, Lacefront Possum fur Wig wearing, Alternative fact, Atomic Dog diarrhea face ass man!!!!”

“Leave our legends names out ya f—cking old ass puppy piss smelling ass mouth & continue to focus on dividing minorities, building barriers, alienating immigrants, & f—cking this country up like u been doin…. #UWannaBeDictator #PresidentialLevelF—kboy.”

Hip hop has all the time had a robust curiosity in politics.

Whether it was Chuck D within the 80’s, Mos Def within the 90’s or Killer Mike at the moment, MCs have all the time made room for political discourse inside their music and life.

T.I. has been significantly lively currently, calling out Donald Trump and his supporters at each flip, together with coming to the protection of fellow rapper, Snoop Dogg.

Check out these politically lively rappers above.

Melissa McBride Reveals How Carol Feels About Daryl on ‘The Walking Dead’

walking-dead-daryl-carol-kiss

Credit:
AMC
   

Melissa McBride, half of The Walking Dead followers’ favourite ship, discusses the truth of Carol and Daryl’s candy relationship.

See the main points inside!

 

Morgan misplaced management and informed Carol the reality about Glenn and Abraham and now she’s prepared for conflict.

 

Carol Disguised as a Wolf in The Walking Dead Season 6, Episode 2

Credit:
Gene Page/AMC
   

But how does our Queen really feel about being lied to by Daryl?

 

Melissa believes Carol understands why Daryl lied and admits she wasn’t prepared for the reality but.

“I do not assume there’s any ailing emotions towards Daryl for mendacity,” the actress tells ComicBook.com.

 

w310_29c47a58b50ea6a6f7379eec7863b592TWD501GP05050461-1413397311

Credit:

Gene Page/AMC

   

“There’s full and complete understanding, and if not a bit of guilt on her half for placing him in that merciful place to do what he did and inform her that everybody was okay.”

 

That understanding and mercy comes from a spot of deep love, however not the type of love followers are hoping for.

 

walking-dead-daryl-carol


Melissa explains the deep (and platonic) relationship Carol shares together with her Pookie.

 

walking-dead-carol-daryl-season-2

Credit:
AMC
   

“I feel it’s they’re wounded youngsters, actually get each other,” Melissa informed ComicBook.com, “I do not see her changing into a mom to him in any respect. I see her changing into that wounded buddy.”

 

So there you could have it. Carol and Daryl perceive one another extremely effectively and the love they share is actual.

 

Daryl-Carol-Walking-Dead-Couple

Credit:

AMC

   

Stephin Merritt Albums From Worst To Best

“Relating to other people has always struck me as the most overrated of pleasures.”

Stephin Merritt said this in a 2015 issue of Rolling Stone, explaining the handful of songs he’s written that he considers to be at least somewhat autobiographical. He has spent a career frequently priding himself on the disconnect between the sentimentality of his work and his personal life. When considering his 25-plus years of output, what we’ve learned about Merritt’s life from the (admittedly uneven) documentary Strange Powers and the recently released 50 Song Memoir, the claim becomes more and more dubious over time. Sure, Merritt was never a Rockette, an alligator wrestler, or an ancient vampire, but his essence is splattered all over his storied and frequently excellent career.

For an artist who has always existed outside of ubiquitous recognition, he’s been an ambitious risk-taker. Since throwing in the kitchen sink with his (first) multi-disc epic, 69 Love Songs, he has never held onto an aesthetic for more than two albums straight, has let top-tier songs land on side projects, and has never attempted to alter his notoriously dour attitude in interviews (if you sit through any of them, you will see his insight and good humor frequently crack through). Aside from being a brilliant wordsmith, he doubles as an arduous studio rat, obsessed with sound, genre study, and arrangement. If he’d never written a word and faded into the background as a band’s musical architect, there’d still be much to discuss.

This list excises soundtrack work (unless compiled and released under his own name or band) as it’s meant to represent Merritt’s career independent of larger projects where he was a hired contributor. It includes every album by the Magnetic Fields, the 6ths, the Gothic Archies, Future Bible Heroes, and Stephin Merritt solo. While not a collection of 20 masterpieces (although there are a few), there is nary a Merritt release that passes by without at least one of his best songs. Now in his 50s, he is still creating music that is surprising and affecting, in addition to managing ways to fold in weird sounds he discovers along the way. His career path is certainly long, but rarely boring.

Stephin Merritt Showtunes

20. Showtunes, Stephin Merritt (2006)

It’s ironic that the one retail album that bears Stephin Merritt’s name as a proper solo release is the one most devoid of his most recognizable characteristics. Compiling highlights from three plays Merritt scored for theater director Cheng Shi-Zheng, Showtunes is the only Merritt album on which every song would stick out like a sore thumb if you took every album on this list and shuffled them into one big playlist. It’s pure musical theater, played minimalistically on a handful of instruments (accordion, bassoon, Stroh violin, bass, and some pitched percussion). His rhyming scheme and wit are still intact, but it’s the kind of album that even theater fans are not going to be clamoring to hear with any regularity.

It’s not that this is a bad album per se, it’s just difficult to consider it in the pop spectrum where the rest of Merritt’s discography sits. Narratively, it’s extremely difficult to parse as well, being that it’s presented in a scrambled sequence. It has some value, though, among Magnetic Fields fans. For one, it reunites the 69 Love Songs vocal crew of Shirley Simms and Dudley Klute, as well as choir appearances from Claudia Gonson and LD Beghtol, and the reprise of “Shall We Sing A Duet?” is a beautifully twisting piece that comes in deep into the set. You can hear a lot of the delicate acoustic production Merritt would use on Realism, and the song itself could have fit nicely into the diverse fabric of 69 Love Songs. Other than that, though, Showtunes is more of an exercise in Merritt’s outstretching into the composer world, which is something he has thankfully come back from in recent years.

Future Bible Heroes

19. Eternal Youth, Future Bible Heroes (2002)

Claudia Gonson is the Magnetic Fields’ secret weapon. She is Stephin Merritt’s manager and best friend and served as the band’s earliest drummer, frequent piano player, and even made several vocal appearances on the band’s work throughout the years. As a singer, she offers a great foil to Merritt’s baritone, a strong voice that can be endearingly maternal or juvenile depending on the song. Given her strengths within Merritt’s world, it’s always been disappointing that when given centerstage of the Future Bible Heroes’ second album, Eternal Youth, she was given a roster that’s fairly thin on hooks.

Don’t get me wrong — this album has a few great songs. While most of the band’s previous work pays homage to ’80s synth pop, opener “Losing My Affection” is the first instance where the group comes up with something truly Yaz-worthy. “Smash The Beauty Machine” spins muzak on its head cleverly, and “I’m A Vampire” is a fun Halloween dance song for DJs looking to think outside of box. Elsewhere, though, the album is littered with squirmy synth dirges and a bunch of throwaway interludes. Considering how great this album starts, sitting through its mostly barren tracklist is nothing if not frustrating.

the6ths

18. Hyacinths And Thistles, The 6ths (2000)

There’s a point in Stephin Merritt’s career where there is a clear trajectory change — where the music of the Magnetic Fields moves away from the skuzzy world of ’90s alt/indie and takes a seat in the cleaner NPR demographic. The sounds are softer, sparser, and more acoustic-based, and the influences dive further into the American songbook than, say, They Might Be Giants. The divide between these two eras is 69 Loves Songs — and the 6ths’ Hyacinths And Thistles is the first Merritt album fully in that next period.

It’s tempting to write off Hyacinths And Thistles as the end result of an overworked songwriter needing a little recharge time, but according to the 69 Love Songs liner notes interview, a second 6ths album was already in limbo at the time. So while not entirely 69 Love Songs: #70-83, it sure does sound like the well is running a bit dry on this one.

There is a philosophy Merritt has been said to go by during the recording process — he has in the past had a sign in the studio reading, “Or it’s done,” as a reminder to stop and reflect on work before adding more to a recording. It’s a great motto to work by, but in the case of many of Hyacinths And Thistles’ songs, “It’s done” might have been an option chosen a bit too often. Guest spots from legends like Gary Numan and Mark Almond are wasted on go-nowhere experiments like “The Sailor In Love With The Sea” and “Volcana!” The Bob Mould-sung “He Didn’t” feels like a demo that could have used some embellishing, and “As You Turn To Go” with Momus is pretty and pastoral but also barely there, sounding like an outro before the album has even taken off. Like every Merritt album, there are great moments. “Just Like A Movie Star” is the most ornate song on the album — lush and warm like being engulfed in a warm breeze — and “You You You You You You” is one of Merritt’s best “wedding day” ballads. These two alone are what pulls this one ahead of Eternal Youth, and they have also made me put this album on many times in the past hoping to find other values.

TheMagneticFields–Realism

17. Realism, The Magnetic Fields (2010)

It’s not entirely clear if Stephin Merritt set out to make three synthless albums when the Magnetic Fields released i in 2004. That album is often retroactively referred to as “the jazz one,” which had always been a misleading nickname, just as much as Realism was referred to as “the folk one” in the lead-up to its release. The fact is that every song on Realism sounds very different, but all of it could be described as folk for lack of any desire to articulate something more specific. Very few of them, though, scream “folk” as their inherent genre. It’s this looseness that made the album seem exciting at first, but for whatever reason, it’s on this album that the band seems to be the most uninspired they’ve ever sounded.

Pretty much every Magnetic Fields album before and after Realism has some real drive and energy, but Realism has a passive quality throughout — be it the yawning “Better Times,” the sighing “Almost Already Gone,” or the snoring “Painted Flower.” Most of the attempts at upping the energy are hokey and disposable like “We Are Having A Hootenany” and the “Dada Polka,” although “Everything Is One Big Christmas Tree” squeaks a fun moment into the middle of the album. Even its best song, the opener and lead single “You Must Be Out Of Your Mind,” is a retread of “I Don’t Believe You,” but a very welcome one. At the time, Realism was worrisome as it seemed novelty music might have been overtaking Merritt’s interests, but he would bounce back with some pithy gold with the band’s next album.

future bible heroes

16. Memories Of Love, Future Bible Heroes (1997)

When listening to the new Magnetic Fields album, 50 Song Memoir, the song “Eurodisco Trio” gives some insight into the formation of Future Bible Heroes as a coping mechanism for a recent breakup. It makes sense when listening to that band’s debut album, Memories Of Love, which sounds like it exists in another dimension devoid of true human sadness with every description of loneliness and despair sounding intentionally ironic.

Much like the Magnetic Fields at the time, Future Bible Heroes’ sound was largely (in fact, entirely) synthetic, but while Merritt’s synth style was gritty and textured, Future Bible Heroes member Chris Ewen made slippery, shiny, ’80s-indebted synth pop that teetered between refreshing and corny. Merritt writes lyrics and sings alongside Claudia Gonson, her first crack at lead vocals that would soon lead to some truly great turns on 69 Love Songs two years later.

Memories Of Love is at its best when it’s going the full Erasure route. “Hopeless,” “Real Summer,” and “Blonde Adonis” are bright, uptempo, and gay as fuck. Likewise, the band is at its worst when venturing into more atmospheric sounds like on “You Pretend To Be The Moon” and “You Steal The Scene,” which unfortunately make for a large chunk of the band’s second album, Eternal Youth (the in-between EP, I’m Lonely (And I Love It), however, is very much worth a peek). The real buried chestnut on Memories Of Love, though, is its title track, a song that could potentially sum up Merritt’s entire career as our era’s resident perfecter of the love song — “Some are brilliant, some are awful/ Some are summer fluff/ Some are heavy Russian novels/ Memories of love.” Merritt would attempt them all two years later.

the gothic archies

15. The New Despair / Looming In The Gloom, The Gothic Archies (1996/1997)

Starting off as a one-off project for They Might Be Giants’ Hello CD Of The Month Club, the Gothic Archies premiered in the spring of 1996 with the five-song Looming In The Gloom EP. Of course, much like the 6ths, whose debut album came only months earlier, the Gothic Archies are more or less the Magnetic Fields in a Halloween costume, using the same arsenal of equipment but with a more ghoulish spin. Brief and quite rare, the EP’s only entirely exclusive track, “The Dead Only Quickly” (which was later recorded for Hyacinths And Thistles), is one of the most gleefully optimistic songs about atheism ever made. “It would be swell to see some folk burn in hell/ But when they go/ It’s just as pleasant to know/ That the dead only quickly decay.”

A year later, the majority of that EP was repackaged with a couple more tracks via the Merge-released mini-LP The New Despair. The album is barely long enough to include on this list, but it uses its time well. Cranking the microphone reverb, keeping the fretting high up on the bass, and dropping in some cheap haunted-house noise here and there, the album is equal parts homage and parody. After the muck of the destitute guitar noise drone of “It’s Useless To Struggle” and the jaunty “City Of The Damned,” Merritt delivers a pitch-perfect goth rock tune in “The Abandoned Castle Of My Soul,” cleverly approximating the minor-key jangle of Bauhaus. The track “Ever Falls The Twilight” sounds like an old Robert Smith bedroom demo. Previously used as an instrumental on The Adventures Of Pete & Pete, “Your Long White Fingers” is a ghost-town ballad akin to Kristin Hersh’s first solo album and it stands tall as one of Merritt’s most haunting tracks. Given its awkward release as the side project of an already obscure band, it’s a project that was destined to fall into the $2 section of any used record shop it happened to land in throughout the years. Still, it’s a nice little gem wedged between some of Merritt’s most towering achievements.

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14. Love At The Bottom Of The Sea, The Magnetic Fields (2012)

After spending the ’00s eschewing the sounds that first put him on the map, Stephin Merritt followed up the Magnetic Fields’ No Synth Trilogy with an album featuring the band’s most liberal use of synthesizers since its early years. But Love At The Bottom Of The Sea was no throwback; all of the synths used on the album were brand-new creations, some so new that they were purchased and put on the album the day they were put on the market.

Love At The Bottom Of The Sea suffers greatly from a soggy center, but the outer edges are some of the crispiest Magnetic Fields treats ever released. The album opens with a brilliant one-two-three punch. “God Wants Us To Wait” is funny, groovy, and sexy. “Andrew In Drag” is a top-10 Stephin Merritt song, full stop. Written while blackout drunk one night and appearing scrawled in his notebook the next morning, the line between gay and straight disintegrates entirely on this joyous pop number about a man who falls in love with his friend who puts on women’s clothes as a joke at a party. It’s the kind of fun gender bender that would have been huge had it been made during the Clinton years, à la White Town’s “Your Woman.” We are then treated to a spirited murder revenge fantasy (a common theme in this period of Merritt’s career) with “Your Girlfriend’s Face,” where Shirley Simms taunts her ex by happily spelling out her violent plans.

Nothing else gets that good until the penultimate “Quick!,” which is as great hook-wise as it is tragic in context, with Simms threatening to leave an abusive relationship before conceding to stay because “Oh, who will pay the rent?” Elsewhere, the album gets stuck in its genre study exercises — “Goin’ Back To The Country” stumbles on its titular genre’s hokiest trappings; “The Only Boy In Town” and “The Horrible Party” seem to be conjuring traditional European songcraft but both sound like paint-by-numbers parody; and “All She Cares About Is Mariachi” might be the one case here where the song could have benefitted from being attempted during the acoustic Realism sessions. It’s not a great album, but even at its worst, Love At The Bottom Of The Sea at least sounds like the crew is having fun — and at its best, it offers some of the finest work in the band’s catalog.

future bible heroes

13. Partygoing, Future Bible Heroes (2013)

Of all Stephin Merritt’s bands, Future Bible Heroes have always been the weakest. They have good songs, but their albums never coalesced in the way Merritt’s other work has. In anticipation of their 2013 return, Merritt remarked on WNYC’s Soundcheck, “We used to be the Smiths and now we’re the early Beatles,” in relation to the band’s songwriting, which previously featured a hard separation of music and lyrical duties between Chris Ewen and Merritt. This more collaborative style is perhaps why the songs gel better throughout Partygoing than they had in their previous work together. “Living, Loving, Partygoing” is a head-bobbing dance-pop track, and “Keep Your Children In A Coma,” has a great OMD-indebted hook underlining a characteristically cynical outlook on parenting. In many ways, Partygoing makes good on the half-delivered promise that Love At The Bottom Of The Sea made two years earlier. Having mostly eschewed synths for the better part of a decade, that album was essentially billed as a return to form, but it’s on Partygoing where the instrumentation isn’t merely decoration but a forceful tool. Just about every song works, barring only the grating “Drink Nothing But Champagne.”

While humor has always been a major component in Future Bible Heroes, there are songs on Partygoing that are legitimately moving and melancholy. “Sadder Than The Moon” and “Satan, Your Way Is A Hard One” both convey relatable world weariness over lush backdrops. The real magic moment of this album comes from the heartbreaking “Let’s Go To Sleep (And Never Come Back).” Sung by Claudia Gonson, the song details a double suicide of a poverty-stricken burnout couple. Gonson delivers one her best vocal performances as she calmly accepts her fate: “Our love was deep/ No need to weep/ Just count these sheep/ Let’s go to sleep and never come back.”

It’s very possible that Partygoing will be Future Bible Heroes’ final album, given the cursory interest from fans and how the album was released simultaneously with a cleaning-house box set that compiled the totality of the band’s work. But if so, this would be a great way to go out.

Stephin Merritt

12. Obscurities, Various (2011)

This might be a good time to talk a little about The House Of Tomorrow, the Magnetic Fields’ 1992 EP. At five tracks and 12 minutes in length, it’s too short to get its own ranking on this list, but it’s immensely important to the fabric of the Magnetic Fields story. With original vocalist Susan Anway moving cross country, Stephin Merritt bit the bullet and became the group’s singer. It’s also the first MF release to feature prominent guitars, albeit in strange ways. Like the two records that came before it, all the sounds buzz and warble as if coming from cheap computer speakers, but it’s here where the Magnetic Fields (and 6ths) ’90s sound fully emerges, and given the EP’s non-album status, it has a tendency to fall through the cracks.

Nearly 20 years later, Merritt saved the lion’s share of all his other non-album tracks for the Merge-released compilation Obscurities, a surprisingly solid listen that is far more than table scraps. Composed of 7″ singles, tracks from an aborted play, and a couple other unused songs, the collection plays like a mini 69 Love Songs as it hops from style to style in a way that no other Merritt album does besides his new epic, 50 Song Memoir. The discarded play was titled Song From Venus and it’s walk-down-the-aisle ballad “Forever And A Day” was touted as the album’s single when it was released in the late summer of 2011. While the song is quite lovely, it’s a bait-and-switch, considering nearly everything else on this compilation hails from Merritt’s hungry years as a Lower East Side indie nerd. From the porcelain-polish grandeur of that opener, you are then plunged right into the arcade world of 1995 B-side “The Rats In The Garbage Of The Western World,” which is as seedy-sounding as its title implies, channelling the Cure circa 1983. While finding a better revision as a jangle-pop track on i, the original 7″ version of “I Don’t Believe You” is a quirky, spring-day single, and the rare 6ths track “Yet Another Girl” is so full of life, it’s surprising the CD version of Wasps’ Nest couldn’t stand to tack it on.

As all B-sides albums are, it has its throwaways like the meticulously difficult “When I’m Not Looking, You’re Not There” or the grubby Gothic Archies leftover “You Are Not My Mother And I Want To Go Home.” Still, given the previous year’s Magnetic Fields release and the relatively droll Realism, Obscurities is an energizing burst of nostalgia.

the gothic archies

11. The Tragic Treasury, The Gothic Archies (2006)

It had seemed for a time that the Gothic Archies were a one-and-done experiment — a chance to make some tongue-in-cheek goth-rock tunes amidst an ever-peaking prolific period. The band’s resurrection came in the unlikely tie-in to the children’s book series Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events, written by off-and-on Magnetic Fielder Daniel Handler. For every audio book in the series, Merritt would record one new song based on the story (with a differing range of looseness). Compiled on one disc with a couple of bonus cuts, The Tragic Treasury seems like it would be the least essential Merritt disc in the canon, but it’s a fairly entertaining listen from top to bottom.

Self-aware in its silliness, each song is blustery, cartoonish, and frequently charming. While it’s not likely that any of these songs are going to make it onto a mix you’re compiling for a crush, a song like “Shipwrecked” is at least a plausible choice — a cute daydream about committing multiple murders to ensure you’re trapped on an island with the object of your infatuation. This album also allots Merritt the opportunity to touch base with some distant sounds that had been cast out in the midst of his No Synth Trilogy with the Magnetic Fields. “The World Is A Very Scary Place” is pure Holiday, and “Walking My Gargoyle” recalls the work he contributed to The Adventures of Pete & Pete in the ’90s, his first foray into making indie rock for children. It’s one of the odder curios in Merritt’s discography, but the fact that it produced this interview alone makes it worth the price of admission.

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10. Distant Plastic Trees, The Magnetic Fields (1991)

Even if Distant Plastic Trees were the only Magnetic Fields release, it would still be an unbelievable find if and when it was ever unearthed. Sounding unlike anything else in popular music at the moment of its release, it’s a weird and dreamy album completely lost in time. Not quite a synth-pop album and not even close to “rocking,” the songs quiver by on cheap keyboards and broken samplers with erstwhile vocalist Susan Anway singing Merritt’s songs while he hid comfortably in the background. Anway’s voice is lulling but strong, the kind of singer you’d be more likely to hear singing hymns at a mass than on an indie album. Although Anway and Merritt’s tones couldn’t be more different, she nails his ironic delivery from the drop, and given her church-lady vocals, it’s a lot weirder to hear her sing lines like, “I have a mandolin/ I play it all night long/ It makes me want to kill myself.”

While the Magnetic Fields would outdo this album only a year later with the tighter The Wayward Bus, Distant Plastic Trees has a handful of early MF treasures. “Smoke Signals” takes plucky synth guitars and what sounds like an arpeggiated accordion preset and turns it into an odd beauty that echoes with dribbling reverb. On “Living In An Abandoned Firehouse With You,” a sense of wonderment fills the scene, a sense of getting away from it all in a world where only you and your lover exist, a consistent theme throughout Merritt’s career. Not every song works as well as it could (like the broken fairy tale “Falling In Love With The Wolfboy” or the saccharine early take of “Plant White Roses”), but there’s plenty to enjoy in the album’s short run time, especially the immortal “100,000 Fireflies,” which simultaneously breaks up and makes up before your ears. “You won’t be happy with me, but give me one more chance,” Anway sings. “You won’t be happy anyway.” Even at such an early stage, Merritt was already dropping some of his career’s most biting bars.

the magnetic fields

9. i, The Magnetic Fields (2004)

In a recent Guardian interview, Merritt discussed the pressures on the Magnetic Fields following up 69 Love Songs. “I knew it was going to be compared unfavorably to 69 Love Songs no matter what I did. As with Tusk by Fleetwood Mac, where they knew it was going to be denounced as no Rumours by everyone in the world, and as a result it’s actually better than Rumours.” Obviously given its ranking, I’m not going to try to argue that i is better than 69 Love Songs, but the Tusk comparison is apt. Much like Fleetwood Mac’s infamous double album, i is a misunderstood, underrated album that, if heard at the right time and place, could feasibly be someone’s favorite Magnetic Fields release. Continuing the embrace of acoustic instruments as on a number of 69 Love Songs, Merritt made the full plunge and made an album completely devoid of synthesizers, launching the Magnetic Fields’ No Synth Trilogy, his first entry in a new phase of his career that thrived on themes and constraints (oh, and every song title on the album begins with the letter “I,” and its sequence in alphabetical order).

Production-wise, the album strongly reflects the turn that the band’s live shows had taken in recent years, a response to the worsening of Merritt’s hyperacusis, a condition that causes loud sounds to feed back in one’s ear. In the past, Sam Davol’s cello would often get swallowed up in the dense mixes of the ’90s era, but on i, he is a frequent lead character, giving songs like “Irma,” “I Die,” and “I Don’t Really Love You Anymore” a baroque pop feel. Guitar player John Woo and Claudia Gonson, now a permanent piano fixture, are more present than ever, replicating the band’s live sound. The album consistently feels like it is being performed by an ensemble rather than the mostly solo studio project it once was, which is a practice that works greatly to their benefit. It’s only on the attempts at sleepy, vocal jazz that the album occasionally sounds flimsy or dull (“I’m Tongue Tied,” “Infinitely Late At Night,” “Is This What They Used To Call Love”). Elsewhere, the band is filled with energy, especially on the remake of “I Don’t Believe You,” complete with a great sitar-inflected guitar solo by Woo.

This would be the last time that Merritt would be the sole singer of the group on record until 50 Song Memoir 12 years later, and the consistency of his vocal presence gives a similarly sincere quality to the material as it does on that album. Like all Magnetic Fields albums, none of the songs are meant to be taken as confessional, but there’s not an album by the band where Merritt sounds more invested in his words than he does here (which could simply be because of its organic textures). On “I Wish I Had An Evil Twin,” there is an impassioned longing in the protagonist’s desire to be exalted of emotional accountability. While Merritt may totally be taking the piss take on something as sincere and schmaltzy as “It’s Only Time,” it works regardless of his intentions (I know at least one couple that used the song for their first dance at their wedding). At the end of the day, i’s only problem is that it’s Merritt’s safest album, his experimental side taking a back seat and his comedy tucked in a bit more than usual, but for what it’s worth, it’s the Magnetic Fields album that you can listen to with your parents uninterrupted.

wayward bus

8. The Wayward Bus, The Magnetic Fields (1992)

Coming a year after the band’s debut, The Wayward Bus takes in all of Distant Plastic Trees’ charms and expands them with more musical contributions and a more consistent roster of quality material. While nothing quite matches the perfection of “100,000 Fireflies,” Merritt moves away from Distant Plastic Trees’ more experimental detours and doubles down on classic pop, most evident in its Ronettes-biting opener, “When You Were My Baby,” which boasts the first on-record appearance of longtime cellist Sam Davol and Merritt’s partner in crime/manager Claudia Gonson on percussion.

The Magnetic Fields were still a couple of years from entering their god-mode period, but there’s much to love on The Wayward Bus. There’s not enough said about Susan Anway’s vocals on the first two Magnetic Fields albums, as they work extremely well in the soft fabric of the group’s early sound. “The Saddest Story Ever Told” and “Dancing In Your Eyes,” in particular, are wonderful torch songs that you can dance to, and “Candy” is a gender-blurring summer romance ballad that perfectly sums up the frustration of leaving a relationship for the benefit of the two partners (think Cat Power’s “Good Woman” from the perspective of a woman singing as a man).

I’ve encountered more than one person who has affection for “Tokyo A Go-Go,” but for me personally, it’s a song that takes the cheap-sounds-as-art aesthetic a bit too far. Likewise on “Old Orchard Beach” the song swirls around a bunch of fluttering keyboards that never seem to land until a grating synth hook comes in at the end. While “Suddenly There Is A Tidal Wave” is a dull, abrupt ending to the album, The Wayward Bus mostly shows an incline in Merritt’s talents as a songwriter and arranger, using whatever instruments are lying around and making it into a highly listenable experience.

the charm of the highway strip

7. The Charm Of The Highway Strip, The Magnetic Fields (1994)

In recent years, mining the sounds of the 1990s has become common practice, beyond rehashing the era’s genres. You can hear it in the Windows ’95 reimagining of Oneohtrix Point Never’s R Plus Seven or PC Music’s worship of all things outdated from the fledgling years of the internet. Imagine now the fact that Merritt was doing this in real time, flipping the the newest (and often cheapest-sounding) digital sounds into pop art.

No Magnetic Fields album is a better example of this recycling than The Charm Of The Highway Strip, the band’s debut on Merge Records, released in the spring of 1994. A concept album about travel, it’s the first Magnetic Fields album with Merritt on vocals, which are front and center over the computer music. On “Long Vermont Roads,” Merritt sounds like he’s navigating the open road with a joystick powered by Casio synths, set to some of his trademark metaphors — “Your eyes are the Mesa Verde/ Big and brown and far away.” Nearly every Magnetic Fields album has a country song embedded underneath the fuzz or keyboard haze, and one of his best is “Fear Of Trains,” which takes the uptempo chug of outlaw country, jangles it up R.E.M.-style, and feeds it through an entourage of video-game synths. Highway Strip also finds Merritt hitting his stride as a romantic on the queer vampire ballad “I Have The Moon” and the immortal “Born On A Train,” a song that allegedly spurred an awakening in a young Win Butler to try to get his new band signed to Merge Records. On the song’s chorus Merritt sings, “I need to go where the whistle blows, and the whistle knows my name/ Baby, I was born on a train,” an ode to insatiable restlessness that has also been part of the Arcade Fire’s DNA throughout their career.

As a kid, Merritt moved dozens of times before landing in New York City as an adult. More so than any other album, Highway Strip encompasses his nomadic spirit and gives clarity to frustrations and anxieties he’s expressed about long-distance relationships and the crippling jealousy that creeps in when you’re away from your partner. On “Born On A Train,” the answer is clear that the anecdote is to merely disconnect as a defense mechanism, embracing instead a “Lonely Highway” to hold in his arms. The duality, though, is what gives the album its heart, knowing very well that, “The roads won’t love you and they still won’t pretend to.”

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6. 50 Song Memoir, The Magnetic Fields (2017)

In a Pitchfork interview for Showtunes, Stephin Merritt’s 2006 compilation of music he composed for Chinese opera, he rejoiced, “It’s very delightful! No one asks me if the songs from My Life As A Fairytale are more autobiographical.” Digging out what parts of Merritt’s novel-esque songwriting are based on real events can be a fun practice (Distortion’s “Xavier Says,” for instance, is about an overheard conversation at a gay bar where an alpha male puts a flirter on blast), but in general, Merritt will talk down his work as being more fictional. As an admirer of the man behind the music, it was a wonderful surprise to learn that that, upon his 50th year, Merritt and the Magnetic Fields embarked on another multi-disc epic, each song offering details of each year of his life, his most intimate work by a country mile.

For the past 15 years or so, Merritt’s constraints have been mostly musical not lyrical, which has been intermittently limiting (Realism and Love At The Bottom Of The Sea) and gloriously serendipitous (Distortion and i). With the theme centered on his life story, Merritt’s hands are at last free to grasp any instrument he sees fit to complement the story and the results are some of the best work he has made in years.

Unlike Merritt’s other multi-disc epic, 50 Song Memoir never acts as a genre exercise. These are 50 full-fledged songs, and save for the junk percussion piece “The Day I Finally…,” every song is densely layered and labored over. Starting out light and humorous with songs about his childhood cat, anthropophobia, and the time Merritt first heard “The Hustle,” things get progressively more interesting as he ages. On “A Serious Mistake,” we find Merritt pessimistically pondering the lifespan of a relationship: “When will this comedy turn sour?/ A year, a month, a week, an hour?” (The next track is called “I’m Sad!,” so you can figure out how that one turned out.) We get the DNA of his lyrical obsession with dancing (despite being a known introvert) via his lusty college years on “At The Pyramid” and “Danceteria!,” and see a glimpse of the heart underneath the cynic on NYC tribute “Have You Seen It In The Snow?” and the long-distance relationship power ballad “Big Enough For The Both Of Us.” The real showstopper of the set, however, and an indicator that his best songwriting is still not behind him, is the gorgeous “Fathers In The Clouds.” Detailing his relationship with God and his father, folk musician Scott Fagan, it’s the only song Merritt’s ever made that touches on the subject of parental estrangement. Merritt lays bare his soul while still coming out stronger than ever, set to a choir of chiming acoustic instruments that sound like a spiritual awakening, despite its staid rejection of a higher power.

Much like 69 Love Songs, it’s easy to get lost in the sheer size of 50 Song Memoir. Some songs jump out right away and others don’t reveal themselves until after numerous listens, but when you spend enough time with it, you can find bits of yourself through the life of a famously impenetrable man. It’s the realest he’s ever presented himself, which makes it absolutely essential for admirers of his work.

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5. Holiday, The Magnetic Fields (1994)

Despite being released in the same year, Holiday and The Charm Of The Highway Strip have decidedly different sounds. While both display Merritt’s original, warped sense of synthpop, Holiday is fuller, more saturated, and pound-for-pound better. The sounds of the album simply glow as the line between synths and guitars blur and twist together in a knot. Merritt’s vocals are cloudier than they appear on The Charm Of The Highway Strip, and it in turn they become an instrument among the fuzz rather than the odd, clean-toned tour guide of his previous album.

After a short instrumental intro, the hits come in full force: “Desert Island,” “Deep Sea Diving Suit,” “Strange Powers.” These are three classic Magnetic Fields tracks, and it only gets better in the album’s nucleus. Merritt has written songs about longing for a lover thousands of miles away throughout his career, all the way up to the autobiographical “Big Enough For The Both Of Us,” but his best distillation of that yearning might be “Swinging London,” which sounds as though it’s being made by a melted accordion and a circus organ, yet it’s also incredibly poignant and beautiful against Merritt’s melody as he waves goodbye. “Sad Little Moon” hints at the richness of these middle years with Sam Davol’s cello taking center stage, and “The Flowers She Sent And The Flowers She Said She Sent” exercises expert arrangement with building verses that explode in technicolor ecstasy in the chorus. While generally more abstract lyrically than Highway Strip, Holiday is filled with effervescent pop joy that culminates in the freeing rumble of closer “Take Ecstasy With Me,” which is a club-life love song that hints at darkness beneath the surface. “A vodka bottle gave you those raccoon eyes/ We got beat up just for holding hands,” echoes a gay-bashing story Chris Ewen tells in the documentary Strange Powers.

waspsnest

4. Wasps’ Nests, The 6ths (1995)

Considering the minor cultural awareness of the Magnetic Fields, one might think Stephin Merritt would’ve saved all his best material for his flagship brand back in 1995. On Wasps’ Nests, Merritt’s debut album under the 6ths moniker, he either doesn’t care or is just on that much of a hot streak that there simply is no B-level material to divvy out. It’s a sublimely great set of songs sung by a who’s who of indie rock greats, none of whom tries to steal the show — every singer slips into the Magnetic Fields mold like a hand in glove. The sound is one of Merritt’s warmest and most welcoming, with songs like “San Diego Zoo” and “Falling Out Of Love (With You)” detailing heartbreak and disillusionment in tunes that are fun and danceable. Mitch Easter, better known for co-producing R.E.M.’s early work than his band Let’s Active, sings (and shreds) on the cute makeup anthem “Pillow Fight” and Robert Scott is more tuneful in his vocal on “Heaven In A Black Leather Jacket” than on anything with the Clean.

Merritt’s guarded exterior is also penetrated a bit here. On the Chris Knox-sung closer “When I’m Out Of Town,” Merritt writes about how touring whilst in a relationship is essentially its death knell as jealousy and paranoia set in. The quip-heavy “You Can’t Break A Broken Heart” (sung by Honeybunch’s Jeffrey Underhill) might as well be Merritt’s personal theme song, a “fuck you” to anyone with the gall to think he really gives a shit (we find out on 50 Song Memoir that he actually does, sometimes).

One of the major components to the excellence of Wasps’ Nests is its level of accessibility, especially to new listeners. The differing vocalists offer variety and some familiar voices, while never breaking from the Magnetic Fields format. Full disclosure: This was the first Stephin Merritt album I ever bought. I immediately responded to the songcraft but it was especially easy to enter this world hearing people I already loved — like Lou Barlow and Georgia Hubley — sing Merritt’s songs. Unlike his preceding Magnetic Fields albums, it’s completely straightforward. Even as recently as Holiday, Merritt employed sounds that intentionally sounded odd and occasionally off-putting, whether it be the muzak sound of “When The Open Road Starts Closing In” or the exploding beat box on the wafty “Torn Green Velvet Eyes.” Wasps’ Nests retains all of Merritt’s unique production but with none of its alienating detours, and it’s the better album for it.

distortion

3. Distortion, The Magnetic Fields (2008)

It’s typically a bad idea when an album’s schtick is to lift another famous album’s sound wholesale. The mere concept of aesthetic homage has a tendency to knock your album to second-class citizenship. The Jesus And Mary Chain were themselves production chameleons, never sticking to one particular thing, premiering with their noise-pop opus Psychocandy in 1985 and then quickly turning the gain down and starting anew on the cleanly constructed (and just as great) Darklands. So when Merritt decided to take the sound of Psychocandy and apply it to a new Magnetic Fields album, the announcement reeked of “diehards only” access.

But guess what happened? The garbled mess of feedback and fuzz that permeates Distortion complemented the music better than anyone could have hoped. The OK songs are good, the good songs are great, and the great songs are top-tier Merritt, on par with material from his golden mid- to late-’90s run. Let’s just start with the best: “The Nun’s Litany.” What could have been dismissed as a novelty girl-group throwback about renouncing chastity for a life of kinky sex is a noise-pop masterpiece, with the call-and-response vocals sounding as if leading a parade. “Drive On Driver” is superb country that skronks like Dolly Parton performing on an exploding television set. Where on the Magnetic Fields’ previous synth-less experiment, i, songs like “Old Fools” and “Courtesans” could have been drowsy balladry, on Distortion, they ache with heavy melancholia and thousand-yard stares.

Where Sam Davol became the key performer of i, so too does John Woo on Distortion, who pounds every note like a kid being told to play “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” but who just wants to play “Debaser.” Aside from being another great ensemble recording with Woo, Davol, and Claudia Gonson melding perfectly with Merritt, this album’s most obvious star is Shirley Simms, who returns to the band as a permanent co-vocalist. Originally intended to be just Merritt on vocals again, the choice to bring Simms back to redo half the album’s vocals is crucial. Simms as the gleeful sinner is the perfect foil to Merritt’s sad bastard, and while they only meet head-on on the perfect “Please Stop Dancing” duet, their pinging from song to song as the world burns behind them is great fun.

When played live, every song from Distortion is given the acoustic treatment more akin to i’s sound, which was later exhausted on Realism and gave this album’s subsequent tour an interesting perk of being a completely different experience than the album. The songs still sounded good, but there is special destructive magic that takes place right at the drop of “Three-Way” that will never be recaptured in any live setting, and is unlikely to be revisited on any Merritt album ever agin.

69lovesongs

2. 69 Love Songs, The Magnetic Fields (1999)

Have you noticed I’ve talked about this one a lot? It’s kind of important. It’s not like no one in the history of music hadn’t made a triple album before, but there’s more to 69 Love Songs’ impact than just the ambitious runtime. Production-wise, this is where the floodgates open — essentially any music Merritt has made since has been ground-tested here first: Distortion’s JAMC referencing (“When My Boy Walks Down The Street”), i’s warmth and organic approach (“All My Little Words,” “Busby Berkeley Dreams”), Realism’s whimsical folk (“The Night You Can’t Remember,” “Time Enough For Rocking”) and Love At The Bottom Of The Sea’s technicolor synth explorations (“Long Forgotten Fairytale”).

Genre diversity and quantity are factors, but the ultimate reason why 69 Love Songs is a monumental landmark is its songs. There are so many good ones. It’s so dense, it could take you a dozen listens before you even notice how fantastic “Grand Canyon” or “How To Say Goodbye” are, which would be top of the heap on any other single-disc album.

Among the very best here, “All My Little Words,” “Luckiest Guy On The Lower East Side,” and “The Book Of Love” are three of Merritt’s most beloved songs (at least according to streaming numbers and Peter Gabriel). The former two are perfect distillations of his wit set to earworm melodies, and the latter is an easy contender for a new entry in the Great American Songbook. Genre exercises abound as the band channels Serge Gainsbourg on the enjoyably seedy “Underwear,” Fleetwood Mac on the perfect torcher “No One Will Ever Love You,” and Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark on the delightfully horny “Let’s Pretend We’re Bunny Rabbits,” to name a few. Ensemble-wise, the hitmen of Magnetic Fields’ past, present, and future are all present — from John Woo’s thorny guitar licks and Sam Davol’s heavenly cello to author Daniel Handler’s honky accordion and Merritt himself playing about 100 instruments throughout. Longtime partner-in-crime Claudia Gonson, having previously shared vocal duties with Future Bible Heroes, joins guest singers Dudley Klute, LD Beghtol, and Shirley Simms, providing the album with just enough variety to keep things interesting but always familiar.

Gonson is the chameleon of the the proceedings, playing the disrespected wife on the murder ballad duet “Yeah! Oh Yeah!,” the heartbroken lesbian musician on “Acoustic Guitar,” and the self-medicating admirer on “Reno Dakota,” all with the same level of identifiable innocence. Dudley Klute and LD Beghtol operate from the same self-taught theater voice that Merritt invokes but provide gravelled texture and nuance in ways Merritt usually can’t. The Klute-sung “Long Forgotten Fairytale,” in particular, projects itself in ways that would be difficult to picture Merritt doing. On “All My Little Words,” Beghtol sings with a ravenous tremble as if he is delighting in his misery if only for the chance to think about the object of his affection for a few minutes. On “No One Will Ever Love You,” Simms assumes a level of devastation unmatched on any other Magnetic Fields song, singing with a wilting resignation. When she sings, “Where is the madness that you promised me?/ Where is the dream for which I paid dearly?,” you get the sense that she never truly expected to get it either.

Still, there is nothing more quintessential to the Merritt discography than “Papa Was A Rodeo,” which thematically captures the Magnetic Fields in microcosm. Within, it contains bar-room flirtation, nomadic loneliness, sexual and gender ambiguity, and the dream of finding a lifelong partner. Slowly unwinding and revelling in the protagonist’s self pity, the hopeful turnaround when “Mike” responds (in Simms’ voice, no less) is one of the most cinematic reveals in the Merritt canon. At five minutes, it’s the longest song Merritt has ever released, and while calling it an epic might not be entirely accurate, nothing else in Merritt’s catalog reaches this height.

It’s difficult to conceive what Merritt was thinking when he got a $10,000 grant from Merge to make a three-disc marathon album of songs about songs. Would 69 Love Songs be some weird blip of excess on the indie map? Would it end up being an exit strategy from indie rock that could open the doors to musical theater? Was he simply just living in the moment? Whatever the reason, he’s been rewarded with a lifetime of affinity and cursed with a rather tall shadow to move out of. Still, he’s been doing a decent job of rising to its challenge.

Get Lost

1. Get Lost, The Magnetic Fields (1995)

In the mid-’90s, the Magnetic Fields were eking it out among the overflowing alternative-rock cauldron and generating a lot of amazing material at an alarming rate. Dropping just a few months after the incredibly strong 6ths’ album Wasps’ Nests, Get Lost finds Magnetic Fields in peak form with a pristine set of pitch-perfect indie pop. And while, yes, you could take the 15 best songs off 69 Love Songs and outdo this album, there’s something to be said for the humble charisma of Get Lost. There is no grandstanding concept to it, just really good songs by a group that was slowly expanding and hitting its stride. Much like Wasps’ Nests, Get Lost thrives on its ability to remain quirky while not being too niche. It’s unmistakable ’90s Merritt, but the album sounds less like a bedside creation and more studio-oriented. The vocals are more nuanced and the fuller sound is an advantageous complement to some of Merritt’s best hooks and words, with significantly more backing vox from Claudia Gonson. Additionally, Gonson’s percussion and John Woo’s guitar work are all over the album, joined on bass by short-time member Julie Cooper and cellist-in-chief Sam Davol, giving the album a warmer, more encompassing sound.

While not technically a themed album, there’s a tremendous sense of longing permeating throughout Get Lost (it’s only on “You And Me And The Moon” where a protagonist actually gets some). The album opens with Merritt’s best alt-rock jammer, “Famous,” whose refrain, “Baby you could be famous/ If you could just get out of this town now,” is like a mantra for Merritt’s career (he eventually would move to Los Angeles to pursue dreams of film scoring, but ultimately, Merritt will always be more famous in New York). On “The Village In The Morning,” Merritt is coaxing a houseguest to stay indefinitely, even offering, “I can telephone my drummer/ And have her get your things,” a reference to Gonson. The sulking “With Whom To Dance” is a ukulele serenade that wistfully gives up on ever finding a partner, and “When You’re Old And Lonely” tries to win back an ex with threats of eternal solitude: “When your golden loneliness is heavier than stone/ You can call me up and say, ‘My God, I’m all alone.” Written at the end of a five-year relationship, “Smoke & Mirrors” features soaring synths that paint a sky over a revolving beat that sounds not unlike the thump of tracks underneath a train. He reduces said relationship into mere “Special effects/ A little fear/ A little sex.” Merritt sings like an echoing inner monologue in which everything finally becomes clear as he rides on a train, once again choosing travel over domesticity.

The thing about Get Lost’s hopelessness, though, is how fun the album actually is. Merritt once sang, “I’m lonely and I’m loving it,” on a 2000 Future Bible Heroes song, but it sounds most true on Get Lost. It’s a heartbreak album fed through a high school filter. Every pang of disappointment and hopelessness is familiar and comforting in its relatability. No song here sounds desperate — it’s an album filled with realization and dreaming of a better future. Whereas 69 Love Songs and most of what comes after are exercises in the art of love songs (“love songs about love songs,” as Merritt would put it), Get Lost is the last gasp of the Magnetic Fields being a straightforward band, with emotional songs that feel consistently from the gut as opposed to a songwriter flexing. Luckily for Stephin Merritt, that muscle would prove to be one of the mightiest of his generation, but on Get Lost, it never sounds like a job — it’s pure art.