First of all, the ordering of the songs bugs me. The second album, 'The Wayward Bus' (c.1992), is placed before the first album, 'Distant Plastic Trees' (c.1991) on the CD. It's just a minor annoyance.
Both albums are sung entirely by Susan Anway (formerly of the Boston punk group "V" in the early 1980s). She decided to move to to Arizona in 1991 and left the vocal duties to Stephin Merritt. He has wonderfully unique baritone voice, which is slightly reminiscent of Johnny Cash. The songs might have been better had he sung them. Anyway on with the review.
Overall, 'The Wayward Bus' album is better than 'Distant Plastic Trees'.
The only bad song on 'Wayward Bus' is 'Toyko A Go-Go' (it's bad compared with the other songs on 'The Wayward Bus' and future albums.)
High points on this album are 'Candy', 'Lovers From The Moon', 'Dancing In Your Eyes', and 'Jeremy'.
Seperating the albums is an untitled silence track which goes on for 4 minutes and 32 seconds, which seems a bit too long (I almost forgot there was another album afterwards).
Now their first album. 'Distant Plastic Trees' is probably the worst thing the Magnetic Fields ever released (compared to other Magnetic Fields albums; it's much better than a lot of things out there at the time).
High points are 'Railroad Boy' (which I rank as one of my favorite MF songs), 'You Love To Fail', 'Tarheel Boy', and, of course, the college radio hit '100,000 Fireflies'.
'Kings' and 'Babies Falling' are okay songs, but the worst songs (compared to the other songs) on this album.
Well, overall the CD is a good interesting listen, even if it cronicles the weakest period of the band in reverse. Keep in mind: This shouldn't be an introduction to the band. I suggest 'Holiday' or '69 Love Songs' for that.