My Top 20 Songs of 2012 #19: The Magnetic Fields – ‘Andrew In Drag’

The Magnetic Fields’ ‘69 Love Songs’ is Stephen Merritt’s greatest record, but it must also feel a bit like a millstone around his neck. Every record he’s released since has (somewhat inevitably) been compared to it and been found wanting. Quite frankly, what wouldn’t? ‘69 Love Songs’ is such a great record, filled with so many great songs and brilliantly constructed lyrics, should anyone care if he never releases anything that good again? Surely not, so long as there are a smattering of songs as stonkingly great as ‘Andrew In Drag’.

Like the best Magnetic Fields songs, Andrew In Drag is hilarious, sardonic and dolorous in equal measure. It’s that age old story: straight man goes to see straight friend perform in drag (as a joke), man falls in love with friend in drag, man can’t love anyone else but friend in drag, friend in drag never wears drag again, man doesn’t love friend unless he wears drag, man dies alone. We’ve all heard it, right?

In a way, we have. It’s that perfect pop staple: a two minute song about unrequited love. This little vignette is told pithily and with warmth, before being attached to a scandalously catchy melody. It’s Merritt at his very best.

He may never write another 69 Love Songs, but Stephen Merritt’s career continues to be a riposte to punk’s assertions that there was no longer anything interesting to be found in love songs.

2 Responses to “My Top 20 Songs of 2012 #19: The Magnetic Fields – ‘Andrew In Drag’”

  1. Robin Says:


    And as I’ve started picking at your posts already, Line 4: “Quite frankly, what wouldn’t?” – surely.

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