Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Magnetic Fields: i [Nonesuch, 2004]
The concept is, not only do all these deadpan titles start with an i, they're performed (in alphabetical order!) by the deadpan I in question. When the songs are not just clever but lively--most spectacularly on the unrelenting "I Thought You Were My Boyfriend"--Stephin Merritt's demo-ready monotone could pass for a singing voice. When they're not--often not lively, and once or twice, heaven forfend, not clever--he sounds as if he's waiting to be swept off his feet by Sophie Von Otter. At which point we who were rooting for more "I Thought You Were My Boyfriend" sneak out the back door. B+