Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields

Tuesday, August 20 th, 2019 at 00:08 am 


Stephin Merritt is a singer and songwriter best known as the leader of the indie rock band The Magnetic Fields. While the Magnetic Fields haven’t had to worry about the perils of stardom just yet, their fans are loyal and wildly enthusiastic, and they’re a favorite of critics, who’ve described Merritt as a contemporary Cole Porter for his witty, literate and sardonic take on the game of love. Merritt’s own expressive but froggy vocals are at once an ideal vehicle for his lyrics and one of the reasons his music appeals to a discriminating cult but hasn’t broken through to the mass audience.


Strange Powers is a documentary about Stephin Merritt and his band, The Magnetic Field, which is kind of an off beat group that has somewhat of  a cult following, although as they point out, they’re also unknown. The problem is I don’t care about these people. They’re kind of droll, but as opposed to Punching the Clown, where I actually did care about Henry Phillips and he was funny, these people just seemed to be odd for the sake of being odd. Didn’t actually work for me. So, I’ll give it one star, I suppose, for originality, and somebody may like the band.