Realism (The Magnetic Fields album)

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Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 26, 2010 (2010-01-26)
RecordedMother West, New York
ProducerStephin Merritt
The Magnetic Fields chronology
Love at the Bottom of the Sea
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[1]
The A.V. ClubA−[7]
Entertainment WeeklyA[3]
The Guardian4/5 stars[8]
The Independent4/5 stars[9]
Los Angeles Times2.5/4 stars[2]
Q3/5 stars[12]
Spin4/5 stars[13]

Realism is the ninth studio album by American indie pop band The Magnetic Fields. It was officially released on January 26, 2010 by Nonesuch Records.


Described by songwriter Stephin Merritt as his "folk album", the instrumentation of Realism is largely acoustic, stark in contrast to the band's previous album, Distortion, released in 2008. Merritt said he "thought of the two records as a pair" and considered titling the albums True and False, but ultimately could not decide which title would correspond with which album. The song "The Dada Polka" is the only track to feature an electric guitar. Merritt also avoided using a traditional drum kit, further separating the sound of Realism from the noise pop of Distortion. Along with Distortion and the 2004 album i, Realism was also recorded without the use of synthesizers, completing the band's "no-synth trilogy".[14][15]

Joshua Rifkin, who arranged the Judy Collins albums In My Life and Wildflowers, was cited by Merritt as a creative influence for Realism.[14]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Stephin Merritt.

1."You Must Be Out of Your Mind"3:12
3."We Are Having a Hootenanny"2:10
4."I Don't Know What to Say"2:29
5."The Dolls' Tea Party"2:17
6."Everything Is One Big Christmas Tree"2:24
7."Walk a Lonely Road"3:04
8."Always Already Gone"2:40
9."Seduced and Abandoned"2:21
10."Better Things"2:31
11."Painted Flower"2:11
12."The Dada Polka"2:21
13."From a Sinking Boat"3:26


The Magnetic Fields
Additional personnel


  1. ^ a b Monger, James Christopher. "Realism – Magnetic Fields". AllMusic. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Wappler, Margaret (January 25, 2010). "Album review: Magnetic Fields' 'Realism'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 22, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Kot, Greg (January 27, 2010). "Realism". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  4. ^ Heffernan, Lisa (January 26, 2010). "The Magnetic Fields > Realism". American Songwriter. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  5. ^ "Realism by The Magnetic Fields reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved December 21, 2019.
  6. ^ "Reviews for Realism by Magnetic Fields". Metacritic. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  7. ^ Murray, Noel (January 26, 2010). "The Magnetic Fields: Realism". The A.V. Club. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  8. ^ Petridis, Alexis (January 21, 2010). "The Magnetic Fields: Realism". The Guardian. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  9. ^ Gill, Andy (January 22, 2010). "Album: The Magnetic Fields, Realism (Nonesuch)". The Independent. Archived from the original on January 25, 2010. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  10. ^ Elan, Priya (January 22, 2010). "Album review: The Magnetic Fields – Realism (Nonesuch)". NME. Archived from the original on February 5, 2010. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  11. ^ LeMay, Matt (January 27, 2010). "The Magnetic Fields: Realism". Pitchfork. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  12. ^ "The Magnetic Fields: Realism". Q (283): 111. February 2010.
  13. ^ Kornhaber, Spencer (January 26, 2010). "The Magnetic Fields, 'Realism' (Nonesuch)". Spin. Archived from the original on January 30, 2010. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  14. ^ a b "Realism". Nonesuch Records. November 13, 2009. Retrieved November 18, 2009.
  15. ^ "Interview: Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt". The Village Voice. October 1, 2008. Archived from the original on August 7, 2010. Retrieved December 6, 2008.

External links[edit]