The Magnetic Fields’ “Quick!”: From Andrew In Drag to Trashcans In Love

When one hears the harpsichord-tinged strains of “Quick!,” The Magnetic Fields’ portrait of a relationship on the brink of ending, sung by Shirley Simms and Claudia Gonson, one automatically thinks of personified trashcans. Right? Right. Totally.  

English filmmaker James Spinney, best known for his acclaimed 2010 short, Audiobook, directs the clip, in which two trashcans find love in a hopeless place. As the YouTube description informs us, the bins are named “Ada” and “Blom,” two halves which form the name of an obscure 19th century American author, best known for her retrospective of ill-fated romances, The Biography of a New York Hotel Scrub.

Back in March, BlackBook’s own Tyler Coates spoke with Magnetic Fields frontman Stephin Merritt on songwriting, Stephen Sondheim and the nature of genre, and he gave us some great gems. Among them was this nugget about his use of characters in songwriting:

“Most of my music is vague enough so that it can be my personal experience and someone else’s. It’s only when it gets to the pronouns and proper names that the character starts to emerge. When I’m writing a song, I don’t think of myself as creating a particular character, I don’t come up with demographic character traits most of the time. But ‘My Husband’s Pied-à-terre’ – the title came first and the rhymes led me along to the setting in an insane asylum so we don’t know what’s true and what’s not.”

Love at the Bottom of the Seais out now on Merge, and you can watch the amorous wastebins below:

In case you missed the video for “Andrew In Drag,” the (awesome) first single from Love at the Bottom of the Sea, here it is:

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