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August’s Honorary Lady: Stephin Merritt

September 6, 2010

The “Honorary Lady” is a monthly feature we do on Girl Germs in an effort to discuss the boundaries that come attached to a radio show devoted to female artists. We wish to challenge what it means to be a girl or lady, and to recognize that artists who fall outside of this gender definition do make huge contributions to the music and culture we celebrate on the show.

August’s Honorary Lady is Stephin Merritt, the singer and mastermind behind The Magnetic Fields, the 6ths, Future Bible Heroes and The Gothic Archies. Known for his deep, monotone voice and for his simplistic song style, Merritt might not seem at first like a shoo-in for Honorary Ladyhood. But listen to his lyrics. Merritt, who is gay, isn’t afraid to look at the subjects of love and loneliness through an honest, candid lens (albeit sometimes a depressing or bittersweet one). In turn, Merritt and his music, which is sometimes referred to as “gay synth pop,” have gained a sort of cult following among LGBT youth. Merritt has also worked with many talented ladies, among them vocalist Shirley Simms and longtime friend and bandmate Claudia Gonson, who has remarked that when the Magnetic Fields first started, “we purposely had one lesbian, one gay guy, one straight woman, and one straight man. The audience could identify with whomever they wanted.”

http://www.youtube.com/v/ci37lvMsTsA?fs=1&hl=en_US

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