Wayward Bus/Distant Plastic Tr Best of
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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
|1. When You Were My Baby|
|2. The Saddest Story Ever Told|
|3. Lovers From The Moon|
|5. Tokyo A Go-Go|
|6. Summer Lies|
|7. Old Orchard Beach|
|9. Dancing In Your Eyes|
|10. Suddenly There Is A Tidal Wave|
|12. Railroad Boy|
|13. Smoke Signals|
|14. You Love To Fail|
|16. Babies Falling|
|17. Living In An Abandoned Firehouse With You|
|18. Tar-Heel Boy|
|19. Falling In Love With The Wolfboy|
See all 21 tracks on this disc
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
The rest of the CD (the first 10 tracks) are made up of The Wayward Bus songs which were recorded after the Distant Plastic Trees tracks. . Susan Anway is again your vocalist de jour and these songs are great in an intirely different way. There's a Phil Spector-ish vibe filtered through the Merritt lo-fi home recording system on songs like "When You Were My Baby" and "The Saddest Story Ever Told". There's the odd stinker ('Tokyo A Go Go' anyone?) but so many moments of divinity ('Candy', 'Jeremy', 'Like Lovers From the Moon') easily outweigh. Track 11 is 4 and a half mintues of silnce that separate the two sections of the CD - Why? Who knows, just chalk it up as one of the mysteries of the Magnetic Fields.
I can take or leave some of the later efforts such as the 69 Love Songs extravaganza, but The Wayward Bus is a CD I constantly revisit.
PS: Oh and can I just add how nice it is to again see the attractive artwork of Wendy Smith on the cover (she did the cover art for the band, Weekend, in the 1980's).
Most recent customer reviews
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... Read morePublished on April 13 2004
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 morePublished on July 14 2002 by W. Davidson
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 morePublished on April 22 2002 by rackronnieroff
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 morePublished on Oct. 27 2001 by Adam McConnaughey
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 morePublished on Sept. 17 2001 by Ryan Hennessy
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 morePublished on March 19 2001 by Aaron Stigberg
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 morePublished on Nov. 5 2000 by Collin M. David
I absolutely love this album. Stephin Merrit's music and lyrics are to Susan Anways vocals what peanut butter is to chocolate. Read morePublished on Oct. 6 2000