The Magnetic Fields
Lest we forget, Magnetic Fields mastermind Stephin Merritt was making records long before 69 Love Songs. That one was okay, but c'mon. Nevermind the impressive length. You can't get through it without skipping over duds. Get Lost, though 56 songs shorter, is far better: every track features Stephin's voice (deeper than the earth's core), drum machine and a bunch of weird homemade and electronic instruments. Why can't good things ever stay the same?
"Company In My Back"
Jeff Tweedy is a golden god. There, I said it. After the record company fiasco that was Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Wilco still refuses to sell out. On its forthcoming record, A Ghost Is Born, Wilco has created an album's worth of tracks as sing-along-worthy as "Jesus, Etc." "Company In My Back" is a particular standout, beginning with a ragged tapping and erupting into a jangly masterpiece. At 2:33, Tweedy sings, "I will always die/ I will always die/ I will always die, so you can remember me." I will, Jeff. I will.
After the Wrecking Ships
In some pictures, David Berkeley looks kind of like an ugly Julian Casablancas, but Julian he is not. In fact, far from The Strokes, in the world of singer-songwriters, David Berkeley is one of the best. A Harvard graduate and Literature and Philosophy major, Berkeley doesn't really have much street cred. Yet, even if I'd prefer he had dropped out of high school and struggled as a musician first, his single, "Red," an ode to his fianc‚e, is a great damn song. Makes my heart pound a little, in a sad, pathetic I-need-a-man kinda way.