CD The Charm of the Highway Strip (CD 176461),
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The Charm of the Highway Strip

  • 1. Lonely Highway
    2. Long Vermont Roads
    3. Born on a Train
    4. I Have the Moon
    5. Two Characters in Search of a Country Song
    6. Crowd of Drifters
    7. Fear of Trains
    8. When the Open Road Is Closing In
    9. Sunset City
    10. Dust Bowl
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 55

  • Credits
    ProducerStephin Merritt
    EngineerStephin Merritt

    The Magnetic Fields: Stephin Merritt (vocals, various instruments).
    Additional personnel: Sam Davol (cello).
    Personnel: Sam Davol (cello).
    Unknown Contributor Role: Stephin Merritt.
    Stephin Merritt claims that the first four full albums by his band, the Magnetic Fields, each have a specific and unique musical style. As such, THE CHARM OF THE HIGHWAYS STRIP may be the first synth-country album. Marrying the Fields' usual electronic arsenal to original songs written in the traditional Hank, Faron, Lefty, and Patsy C&W fashion works better than one might initially imagine.
    Merritt's wounded-romantic lyrical persona is not really that dissimilar from that of, say, George Jones or Porter Waggoner. In particular, fans of such country radicals as Lee Hazelwood, Kinky Friedman, and Terry Allen should be immediately attracted to narratives like "Born On A Train" or "Two Characters In Search Of A Country Song." Merritt fans averse to twang have nothing to fear. Despite the overt country tone of the album, CHARM is still prime Magnetic Fields.

  • Critic Reviews
    Spin (12/94, p.78) - Ranked #18 in Spin's list of the `20 Best Albums Of '94' - "...Metapop of an austere lushness...with a slightly robotic singer, road-themed titles...and pop-encyclopedic electronic backings that swell when they hit your memory..."
    Q (10/95, p.123) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...both lovely and tackily artificial, dream-like and faintly repellent and as fascinating as anything coming out of America right now..."
    Option (8/94, p.110) - "...this fairly focused concept album is like an aural Wim Wenders movie..."
    Village Voice (2/28/95) - Ranked #29 in the Village Voice's 1994 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll.
    NME (Magazine) (9/16/95, p.50) - 7 (out of 10) - "...Merritt sings lonesome country songs in his lugubrious baritone over charming, tinkly keyboards....a collection of road songs for people whose lives are too fastidiously ordered for them ever to leave their apartments..."
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