The Magician's Private Library

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The Magician's Private Library
The Magician's Private Library.jpeg
Studio album by Holly Miranda
Released February 23, 2010
Recorded 2008; Staygold Studio, Sterling Sound[1]
Genre Indie rock, alternative
Length 42:28
Label XL Recordings
Producer Dave Sitek, Katrina Ford
Holly Miranda chronology
High Above the City: Evolution
(2004)High Above the City: Evolution2004
The Magician's Private Library
Singles from The Magician's Private Library
  1. "Forest Green, Oh Forest Green"
    Released: November 17, 2009
  2. "Waves"
    Released: April 26, 2010

The Magician's Private Library is the second studio album by American singer-songwriter Holly Miranda, released February 23, 2010 in the United States by XL Recordings. It was produced by TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek and Celebration's Katrina Ford.

Writing and development[edit]

While performing in New York’s anti-folk scene with The Jealous Girlfriends in support of their 2007 album The Jealous Girlfriends, Miranda decided to release a solo album with help from her producer friend TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek.[2] The Magician's Private Library was recorded in 2008.[3] Miranda's publisher Chrysalis Music financed the album, but it wasn't formally released until 2010 after Miranda was signed to XL Recordings.[4] Miranda explained that the title came from her uncle's description of what he thought The Dark Side of the Moon sounded like.[2]

"Sleep on Fire" was inspired by Miranda's friend who was asleep in his bed when the apartment downstairs caught on fire. After the friend was rescued and the fire was put out, they found that the only part of the friend's apartment that had burned was the floor beneath his bed.[5]


Musically, the album drew influences from Nina Simone[4] and dream pop icons Cocteau Twins and Mazzy Star.[6]

Lyrically, the songs on The Magician's Private Library address sleep and dreaming.[4] Miranda explained in an interview with that,

"A lot of times when I’m writing songs, I’m writing them to myself, trying to help me get through something, or work something out, understand something. Hopefully that sense is something I can share with people. A lot of these songs are about dreams, and the contrast between dreaming and reality; exploring the divide between the two, and becoming aware that living in dreams can be dangerous, and that the present moment is all we have."[3]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars[7]
Contactmusic.com3/5 stars[8]
Drowned in Sound6/10 stars[9]
Gigwise.com4.5/5 stars[6]
The Guardian3/5 stars[10]
MusicOMH4.5/5 stars[11]
NME8/10 stars[12]
Pitchfork Media(6.7/10)[13]
PopMatters4/10 stars[14]
Venus Zine4/5 stars[15]

The Magician's Private Library received generally favorable reviews. The album holds a score of 68 out of 100 on the review aggregator website Metacritic.[16] Andrew Leahey of Allmusic said, "The results are alternately ghostly, sexy, and nocturnal, but they’re always moving."[7] Likewise, Mark Perlaki of described the album as "lush, ethereal, and brassy-toned."[6] By contrast, Drowned in Sound's David Renshaw said, "Holly Miranda makes nice music, sometimes really pretty, but it doesn’t say anything real or move emotions to anywhere even nearing an extreme."[9]

Many reviews focussed on Dave Sitek's role in producing the album. Ben Schumer, writing for PopMatters, said, "he seems to have carried over that 'cough medicine/Tinkerbell' vibe from his time working with Scarlett Johansson," but added that Miranda "is overwhelmed by her collborators." Schumer also noted that the album sounded too much like a TV on the Radio album.[14] Conversely, Drowned in Sound's David Renshaw commented that "Sitek’s production is impressive throughout and shows a less seen side to his technique."[9]

Verbicide Magazine placed the album at #33 on the Top 50 Albums of 2010.[17]



To promote The Magician's Private Library, Miranda released the limited edition EP Sleep on Fire on June 9, 2009. Only 1,000 copies were pressed.[23] Miranda also released an EP titled Choose to See, which included her cover of Yoko Ono's "Nobody Sees Me Like You Do" as well as covers of David Byrne ("Glass, Concrete & Stone"), When in Rome ("The Promise"), Swans ("God Damn the Sun"), and Lauryn Hill ("Ex-Factor") that was included with the purchase of The Magician's Private Library at Rough Trade shops.[24]

Miranda toured as the opening act on Tegan and Sara's US tour.[5] Miranda also toured as a supporting act on the Xx Tour by the xx,[2] the Lungs Tour by Florence and the Machine,[25] and as part of the 2010 Latitude Festival[26] and Super Bock Super Rock festival.

"No One Just Is" was featured in the CW television series Gossip Girl (episode title: Dr. Estrangeloved).

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Holly Miranda, except where otherwise noted.

1."Forest Green, Oh Forest Green"Holly Miranda, Brendan Coon2:53
2."Joints" 5:58
3."Waves" 5:05
4."No One Just Is" 3:28
5."Slow Burn Treason" 5:57
6."Sweet Dreams" 3:57
7."Everytime I Go to Sleep" 4:07
8."High Tide" 4:24
9."Canvas" 2:36
10."Sleep on Fire" 4:03




Chart (2010) Peak
Belgium Heatseekers (Ultratop Wallonia)[28] 15
U.S. Billboard Top Heatseekers[29] 40

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
Belgium February 19, 2010[28] CD, LP, digital download XL Recordings, V2 Records
United Kingdom February 22, 2010[9] XL Recordings
United States February 23, 2010[7]
Germany February 26, 2010[30] XL Recordings, Beggars


  1. ^ "Holly Miranda - The Magician's Private Library (CD, Album) at Discogs". Discogs. Zink Media, Inc. Retrieved 2010-09-04.
  2. ^ a b c Saxelby, Ruth (2009-11-18). "Holly Miranda: "It sounded like I was in their heads."". Dummy Mag. Archived from the original on 2010-06-12. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
  3. ^ a b Carew, Andrew (2010-02-09). "Holly Miranda Interview - An Interview with Holly Miranda". The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  4. ^ a b c Sisario, Ben (2010-02-19). "Music - Holly Miranda - A Young Singer's Newest Transformation -". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  5. ^ a b Hood, John (2010-02-19). "Q&A With Holly Miranda, Opening for Tegan and Sara This Sunday - Miami Music - Crossfade". Miami New Times. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
  6. ^ a b c Perlaki, Mark (2010-03-04). "Holly Miranda - The Magician's Private Library (XL) Released 22/02/10". Retrieved 2010-08-24.
  7. ^ a b c Leahey, Andrew (2010). "allmusic ((( The Magician's Private Library > Overview )))". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
  8. ^ Ratican, Katy (2010). "Holly Miranda - The Magician's Private Library Album Review". Retrieved 2010-09-06.
  9. ^ a b c d Renshaw, David (2010-02-18). "Holly Miranda - The Magician's Private Library / Releases / Releases // Drowned in Sound". Drowned in Sound. Silentway. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  10. ^ Costa, Maddy (2010-02-18). "Holly Miranda: The Magician's Private Library". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-09-06.
  11. ^ Cragg, Michael (2010-02-22). "Holly Miranda - The Magician's Private Library". MusicOMH. Retrieved 2010-09-06.
  12. ^ Nicholson, Rebecca (2010-02-22). "Holly Miranda - Album review: Holly Miranda - 'The Magician's Private Library' (XL) - Album Reviews - NME.COM". NME. Retrieved 2010-09-06.
  13. ^ Dombal, Ryan (2010-02-25). "Pitchfork: Album Reviews: Holly Miranda: The Magician's Private Library". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2010-09-06.
  14. ^ a b Schumer, Ben (2010-03-08). "Holly Miranda: The Magician's Private Library < PopMatters". PopMatters. PopMatters Media, Inc. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
  15. ^ Trapner, Lindsey (2010-03-24). "Venus Zine: Holly Miranda". Venus Zine. Retrieved 2010-09-06.
  16. ^ "Holly Miranda Profile at". Metacritic. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
  17. ^ "Verbicide's Top 50 Albums of 2010". Verbicide Magazine. 2010-01-22. Retrieved 2011-01-09.
  18. ^ "Holly Miranda - Forest Green Oh Forest Green (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs. Zink Media, Inc. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
  19. ^ "Forest Green Oh Forest Green by Holly Miranda - Releases". Beggars Group USA. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
  20. ^ "Holly Miranda to release TV On The Radio-produced single and tour - ticket details". NME. 2010-04-01. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
  21. ^ Fitzmaurice, Larry (2010-02-03). "Pitchfork: The Playlist: Holly Miranda - "Waves"". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
  22. ^ Brockington, Ryan (2010-02-03). "Holly Miranda 'Waves' free download & tour dates". New York Post. Retrieved 2011-01-21.
  23. ^ "Sleep On Fire by Holly Miranda - Releases". Beggars Group USA. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
  24. ^ "Holly Miranda - Choose To See EP (CD) at Discogs". Discogs. Zink Media, Inc. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
  25. ^ Birman, Paul (2009-10-28). "Florence & the Machine played Letterman (video) & Bowery Ballroom w/ Holly Miranda (and Nada Surf) - pics & setlist". Brooklyn Vegan. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  26. ^ Gregory, Jason (2010-05-21). "Crystal Castles, The Antlers, Holly Miranda Join Latitude Festival Line-Up". Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  27. ^ "AllMusic ((( The Magician's Private Library > Credits )))". AllMusic. Retrieved 2010-08-25.
  28. ^ a b " - Holly Miranda - The Magician's Private Library". Ultratop 50. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2010-09-05.
  29. ^ "The Magician's Private Library - Holly Miranda". Billboard. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
  30. ^ " - Miranda, Holly - The Magician's Private Library". (in German). Phononet. Retrieved 2010-09-07.

External links[edit]