Song of the Day, November 4: He Didn’t by the 6ths

Mould6thsA key part of Stephin Merritt’s musical genius is the unexpected juxtaposition. His work with the Magnetic Fields and Future Bible Heroes is filled with wordplay, gender bending, unexpected juxtapositions, and witty asides. For his superstar project the 6ths, however, he takes things one step further. Working with a dizzying array of pop and indie singers, he matches his words to the voices he wants to hear sing them. Sometimes the pairing is straightforward (Barbara Manning is perfect for San Diego Zoo), but something delightful happens with the less obvious.

Case in point, today’s song. Bob Mould is known for his blistering guitar work as a member of Hüsker Dü and the sonic power of his solo work. Merritt gave him a very tender, fragile ballad — and it works. Mould has explored a more delicate side before, but always within the scope of his personal vision. He Didn’t is a gorgeous, brittle song of hope and need, with the narrator wishing that the man of his dreams would just dance with him. Propelled by Mould’s vulnerable vocal and Merritt’s sweet piano line, the track is quiet waves of hope — eventually dashed against the title, which tells the final story.

It’s one of Merritt’s sweeter (if dark) songs; what truly makes it work is Mould’s inherent sincerity. Enjoy this lovely pairing today.

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About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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