Stephin Merritt has been called “a contrarian pop genius” (The New York Times). With his intricate lyrics and distinctive languid bass voice, Merritt is a true original of the musical world. After more than a decade spent recording and performing offbeat orchestral indie-pop, his group The Magnetic Fields came into its own in 1999 with 69 Love Songs, their witty and mordant encyclopedia of an album released on Merge Records.
In the spirit of 69 Love Songs and i (likewise a catalog record), Merritt created his new 50 Song Memoir for Nonesuch. He began recording on his fiftieth birthday, writing an autobiographical song for each year of his life so far, from his first breath in 1965 to the present day. On a Carolina Theatre stage littered with fifty years’ worth of artifacts musical (reel-to-reel tape decks, newly-invented instruments) and decorative (tiki bar, shag carpet), Merritt and six other musicians bring this grand experiment of theatrical introspection to life over two nights, offering twenty-five years’ worth of songs each night.
“Pop hasn’t seen a lyricist of Merritt’s kind and caliber since Cole Porter.”
“The first song, Wonder Where I’m From, explains that I was conceived by barefoot beatniks on a houseboat in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands; born in Yonkers, NY, but never lived there; learned to talk in Baden-Baden, in the former West Germany; and moved around constantly in my childhood, so that when someone asks me where I’m from, I have no short answer handy. The musical treatment shifts to reflect each locale, as exemplified by Alvin and the Chipmunks’ album Around the World With Alvin and the Chipmunks.” — Stephin Merritt
Each performance will be a separate program; the entire album — 50 Song Memoir — will be performed over two nights.
Durham, NC 27701