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Wayward Bus/Distant Plastic Tr [Best of]

Magnetic Fields Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 17.16 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Product Details


1. When You Were My Baby
2. The Saddest Story Ever Told
3. Lovers From The Moon
4. Candy
5. Tokyo A Go-Go
6. Summer Lies
7. Old Orchard Beach
8. Jeremy
9. Dancing In Your Eyes
10. Suddenly There Is A Tidal Wave
11. (Untitled)
12. Railroad Boy
13. Smoke Signals
14. You Love To Fail
15. Kings
16. Babies Falling
17. Living In An Abandoned Firehouse With You
18. Tar-Heel Boy
19. Falling In Love With The Wolfboy
20. Josephine
See all 21 tracks on this disc

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Susan's Vocals April 13 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Susan was hired for these two albums to sing in the manner which Stephin wanted her to sing. It's no accident that she sang on some of the tracks, in what has been termed "bland" "monotone" etc.This is the effect Stephin wanted so this is exactly how Susan sang the songs, under Stephin's explicit direction. Susan has an amazing vocal range. If you doubt this just listen to some of her early art/punk "V;" work. As I said, her vocal range is amazing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars They Remind me Of Your Starry Eyes Oct. 23 2003
By Chris
Format:Audio CD
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.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Karaoke from hell Oct. 18 2003
By vidar
Format:Audio CD
Since I love "69 Love Songs" I was eager to check out Merritt's back catalogue. Bad move. I have three more albums now, this one, "The charm of the Highway Strip" and "Get Lost". None of them are even near any resemblance to the quality and range of styles we know from "69". I will not buy any more Merritt albums, unless he comes up with something new that can compare with "69".
This "two albums for the price of one" disc is by many concidered to be one of Merritt's best. It leaves me headscratching.
Some albums simply doesn't make any sense to me, and this is one of them. No mattter how I try, I simply can't figure out what on earth it was meant to accomplish.
It is by far the most monotonous sounding pop album I have ever heard in my life. The arrangements seems to have no direction at all. It's like a hotchpotch of droning sounds smashed together at random. At least, this album gives the term "wall of sound" a completely new meaning to me. And it sounds the same all the way through (except from Tokyo a Go-go, which sounds like a really bad one from the Eurovision Song Contest).
Singer Susan Anway sings in the same emotionless manner all the way through, like if she was completely unaware of the heavy, sirupy sound machinery surrounding her.
I must admit, the contrast makes me smile. She sounds just so phenomenally lost and LONELY it's actually worth checking out.
On top of it all, the production is intetionally horrible.
Should I describe the music on this album very simply, I would have to say that it sounds just like karaoke from hell.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great First Release, Mediocre Second Half Oct. 17 2002
Format:Audio CD
Some of the best songs on this two-album CD are "100,000 Fireflies," "The Saddest Story Every Told," and "Jeremy." Susan Anway does the vocals on this CD, but she left the band and Stephin Merritt did the vocals on subsequent releases. I find her vocals more pleasing than Stephin's, but the vocals seem more heartfelt when Stephin sings. The lyrics from "Railroad Boy" (on this CD) seem to summarize it, "I will not sing your ugly songs..." She does a beautiful job on these songs, but the lyrics suggest a more melancholy aspect.
The songwriting is superb, and the variety of instruments used on this CD is great. There's a "Magnetic Fields" sound here that is hard to describe, melodic but melancholic, and impressionistic and almost familiar.
If you've seen the TV show "The Adventures of Pete & Pete," you'll recognize many Magnetic Fields songs, one such on this album is "Lovers From the Moon."
The first album on this CD, "The Wayward Bus," is much better than the second album. The second half of the CD is much darker and moody, and the songs seem to drag on a little too long without going anywhere. I would give the second half 3 stars, while the first half gets 5 stars. However, the song "100,000 Fireflies" is a real gem of a song and it alone makes this CD worth getting.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The house we bought was really a lake...
This is my favourite of all the Magnetic Fields releases to date. It contains their first album 'Distant Plastic Trees' (minus one track - 'Plant White Roses'). Read more
Published on July 14 2002 by W. Davidson
5.0 out of 5 stars The house we bought was really a lake...
This is my favourite of all the Magnetic Fields releases to date. It contains their first album 'Distant Plastic Trees' (minus one track - 'Plant White Roses'). Read more
Published on July 14 2002 by W. Davidson
4.0 out of 5 stars happily sappy
Really pretty songs in an 80's synth-pop kind of way. Except they make me smile, not cringe (except "tokyo a go-go" which actually is pretty cringeworthy). Read more
Published on April 22 2002 by rackronnieroff
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not Great
After listening to this album, one gets the impression that Susan Amway must be under strict orders from Monsieur Merritt not to show any emotion whatsoever. Read more
Published on Oct. 27 2001 by Adam McConnaughey
4.0 out of 5 stars time wasn't on our side.. me and my foolish bride..
Okay, so first I want to note the strange ordering of this album. This is actually told old albums that were recently put together on one CD to be re-released by Merge Records. Read more
Published on Sept. 17 2001 by Ryan Hennessy
5.0 out of 5 stars Do (or don't) buy if you're sentimental
Many of these songs, if you're in the right (wrong?) mood have the power to make one weep, they're so lilting and beautiful. Read more
Published on March 19 2001 by Aaron Stigberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure genius!
I won't go into what everyone has already said about Stephen Merritt and who he is and all, but I WILL say that Merritt's 'poor production' on this album was intentional. Read more
Published on Nov. 5 2000 by Collin M. David
5.0 out of 5 stars Peanut Butter and Chocolate
I absolutely love this album. Stephin Merrit's music and lyrics are to Susan Anways vocals what peanut butter is to chocolate. Read more
Published on Oct. 6 2000 by "jmcampbe11"
5.0 out of 5 stars Susan Anway's Voice
100,000 Fireflies is considered a classic for a very valid reason, and that is Susan Anway's hauntingly beautiful vocals. Read more
Published on May 1 2000
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