March 7, 2002

Ed's Underground

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Is there any genre more deserving of general ridicule than synth-pop? The name alone conjures images of crappy 80’s new wave bands with puffy-haired British singers lamenting on their love lives. The very sound of MIDI orchestration screams cheesiness. But the Magnetic Fields prove that every trend has its exceptions, and you should never dismiss an entire genre off-hand.

Frontman Stephen Merritt has a distinctive baritone croon that covers a surprising emotional range despite its relatively limited dynamic range. These 10 songs draw on the album’s title to tell stories of traveling, loneliness, and love, and each track manages to turn pop clich