Arts Desk

How Fucking Romantic: Writing Love Letters with Magnetic Fields Lyrics

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Love is complicated. Expressing one’s emotions can be even more problematic. When Magnetic Fields songwriter Stephin Merritt penned the high-concept exercise 69 Love Songs, he tackled the subject from varying perspectives and a clinical distance. As the band's show tonight at the Lisner Auditorium falls a mere week before Valentines Day weekend, it’s in the same spirit of emotional artifice that we’ve constructed three love letters in the key of Merritt. If nobody writes them like they used to, you might as well borrow from a master.

Each of these valentines consists entirely of lyrics (at least three words in a row) from 67 of the aforementioned 69 Love Songs, with “Punk Love” and “Experimental Music Love” the only exceptions (pronouns should be changed at your discretion). No lyrics involving the songs' titles are included as an extra safeguard toward obscuring the source material. If poets throughout the ages have tackled love with a broad palate of emotions, here it’s been narrowed down to three perspectives: of the heartbroken, the heartbreaker, and the romancer.

Fall in love after the jump:

The “Till the Bitter End” Letter

Since you went away, it's nighttime all day. I guess I should take Prozac, right, and just smile all night at somebody new? Damn you. I've never stayed up as late as this. The endless nights when I wished, I could still cry. Now that you've made me want to die, I might as well be two ft. tall. You never will love me. The endless streets I walk along, you made them seem pretty. Leave me behind, I'll sit and stare. I spend my evenings alone talking to your picture. Dying all day in thousands of little ways: It's divine. It's asinine. It's depressing. Plunge knives into my poor heart. If somebody told me, I’d succumb. If someone said I’d be so dumb…

Everybody knows but me, when you go where you shouldn't be. I'll go if you let go but I won't go far away. All the things you said you'd never say. I still feel like crying when I think of what you said. Can you feel my heart in the palm of your hand? Do you dread every phone call? Can you not stand me at all? My car is ugly but then I'm ugly too.

There's so much to hate you for; no understanding, no closure. My heart is dying and it's all the same to you. Here am I, no one nowhere. By the time you read this, I will have died of the blues.

The “I Don’t Really Love You Anymore” Letter

You may not be beautiful, but it's not for me to judge. Cupid put too much poison in the dart. It's all about the way it unfurls. Where is the madness that you promised me? I knew it all the time but now I confess: I shouldn't have bothered, cause you're just like all the others.  You can go blind from crying all the time.

This too shall pass, so raise your glass! You and me, we don't believe in happy endings.  The words you want to hear, you will never hear from me. Don't be shocked: I should have forgotten you long ago.  If you think I play hard, you could have belonged to Steve Earle, or Charo, or GWAR.

The “The Trouble I’ve Been Looking For” Letter

You've got a devastating point of view. I pinch myself; It's like I'm dreaming. This could be love-c'est l'amour! Love can kill people, can't it? It makes you prone to crime and sin. One tryst with me and you'll be spinning like a gyroscope

Do not play fast and loose with my heart. You scare me out of my wits. Don’t laugh, I think you’re beautiful. My ardor never sours, I long to nibble your ears. I’ll turn into a vampire in case you own a neck. You know you enthrall m. You're entrancing be we in Paris or in Lansing. My girl is the queen. I made a yard, a playground just in case we had a baby. The rest of our lives is one long honeymoon. It's paradise to me.

If I was Paul Bunyan, I'd carry you so far away. What would our friends and family say? Play another charming Rogers and Hart tune…he's going to be my wife.

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