Friend of the WP Julia Kennedy recently posted this video on a certain popular social networking site, and it took me back.
The earliest WP recordings contained a lot of blatant, shameless Stephin Merritt-isms. I recall once spending a large portion of a European trip trying to rewrite a melodic line to hide the influence of the Luna song I’d stolen it from, only to realize after it had been recorded and released that the whole song was a total Magnetic Fields ripoff (that also contained a completely unchanged Guided by Voices riff, but I digress).
I have to admit I haven’t kept up too much with Merritt’s output in recent years, but the early albums are brilliant.
This song has some of my favourite lyrics. He goes from this in the first verse:
On a Ferris wheel
Looking out on Coney island
Under more stars than
There are prostitutes in Thailand
Our hair in the air
Our lips blue from cotton candy
When we kiss it feels
Like a flying saucer landing
to this in the second:
In Las Vegas where
The electric bills are staggering
The decor hog wild
And the entertainment saccharine
What a golden age
What a time of right and reason
The consumer’s king
And unhappiness is treason