With his long-running project the Magnetic Fields, Stephin Merritt loves releasing albums as grand conceptual stunts. The greatest of those stunts, the 69 Love Songs triple album, just turned 20. The latest of those stunts is a five-disc box set of 7″ singles that’ll be out next month. The new project Quickies will feature 28 brand-new Magnetic Fields songs, all all of them will be under three minutes. We’ve already posted the first single “The Day The Politicians Died.” Today, the Magnetic Fields have shared another new one, and it’s called “Kraftwerk In A Blackout.”
The song itself was never going to live up to the title. It’s hard to improve on the mere image of blank-faced German auteurs stumbling around in the dark, leaving streaks of pancake makeup on the walls, unable to noodle at their vast banks of synthesizer equipment. But “Kraftwerk In A Blackout” is still a pretty good song.
True to the Quickies concept, “Kraftwerk In A Blackout” clocks in at under two minutes. The song is about a couple drifting apart — they’re also like “dolls without voodoo” and “the Enterprise without Sulu” — and attempting to reconnect. “Kraftwerk In A Blackout” is mostly an acoustic song, but it also features some Kraftwerk-evoking robo-sound effects — possibly played on a zither — at the end. Listen below.
Quickies is out 5/15 on Nonesuch.