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Recollection Volume 36 – Love At The Bottom Of The Sea

Recollection is a project to review my record collection. I will listen to an album I own and review it. The album will be chosen randomly by computron. Today computron chooses…

Album: Love At The Bottom Of The Sea
Artist: The Magnetic Fields
Released: 2012
Format(s) I own it on: Vinyl

Latbots_largeSomeone once described modern Magnetic Fields as a parody of Stephin Merritt’s songwriting style. This might be accurate. However, this doesn’t sum up the records completely. Love At The Bottom Of The Sea has some really good songs on it, and though it might be a bit over the top compared to 69 Love Songs, they’re worth the price of admission.

Much like most of Merritt’s work, Love At The Bottom Of The Sea is filled with love songs. As usual they’re not the most traditional love songs. Songs of mariticide, frustrating love triangles, unfaithfulness, one’s inability to be tied down, being trapped in a swinger’s party, and many more topics.

The album is sung mostly by Shirley Simms, with Merritt and Claudia Gonson. I don’t know if it was done with purpose, but it seems Simms sings the best songs on the record. Simms has a natural country twang with shows through in “Goin’ Back to the Country.” She would have been a huge asset on the earlier album The Charm of the Highway Strip.


Merritt begins the record with “God Wants Us To Wait,” a brief song about waiting until marriage. I assume it’s sung tongue-in-cheek, I take it that way, but you can really read whatever you wish to in it. Shirley Simms sings the song rather earnestly.

What rhymes with “drag?” Merritt answers that question with “Andrew In Drag” by using as many rhymes for drag as he can in one song. Bag, brag, fag, gag, jag, shag, stag, wag. It’s a fun song, but it’s also really sad. “Andrew In Drag” is about a man falling in love with his best friend in drag… sadly he only did it as a gag. He’ll never know love again, now that he’s met Andrew in drag.

“Quick” is probably my favourite song on the album. Another song sung by Simms, this time about giving someone one last chance before heading out the door. It’s one of Merritt’s best.


“I’ve Run Away to Join the Fairies” is terrible. Combined with the dreadful melody and the frequent bursts of electronic noise that jolts the listener out of the song. The song would be better suited to a Gothic Archies record.

Speaking of another Merritt band, The Gothic Archies, “All She Cares About Is Mariachi” feels more like it would fit into a third Merritt band, Future Bible Heroes. Sadly it’s a rather boring song.

Men 28.625 (80%) | Women 7.375 (20%)
CD: 20.5 (57%) | Vinyl: 12.5 (35%) | Digital: 0 (0%) | 7″: 2 (6%) | Box: 1 (3%)
1960s: 4 (11%) | 1970s: 2 (6%) | 1980s: 1 (3%) | 1990s: 11 (31%) | 2000s: 16 (44%) | 2010s: 2 (3%)
Canada 10.8 (30%) | USA 16.2 (45%) | UK 7 (19%) | NZ 1 (3%) | FR 1 (3%)
Ontario 4 (36%) | Quebec 1 (9%) | Nova Scotia 4 (36%) | New Brunswick 1 (9%) | Manitoba 0 (0%) | British Columbia 0 (0%) | Prince Edward Island 0 (0%)
Saskatchewan 0 (0%) | Alberta 0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador 1 (9%) | Northwest Territories 0 (0%) | Yukon 0 (0%) | Nunavut 0 (0%)

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