“Summer Lies” – MAGNETIC FIELDS
This is about as straightforward a heartbreak song as Stephin Merritt has ever written. “I pine and wane, pale and wan” is as clever as it gets; the rest of the lyric is a simple account of how the singer (Susan Anway, who handled all lead vocals on the first two Magnetic Fields LPs) trusted the wrong person one summer, and thenceforth sentenced herself to remain indoors, curtains drawn, cutting herself.
OK, so maybe it’s got a strain of drama that would feel more at home in a nineteenth century romance than a 1990s pop song. But the emotions feel genuine, not sardonic, and the melody’s as haunting as our heroine’s memories.
Here’s hoping your summer’s going better than the narrator’s did.