Here are some tidbits about Stephin Merritt:
His instrumentation is none of your business.
Where his inspiration comes from is none of your business.
He hates touring, and he’s often said that.
He drinks. He apparently writes when he drinks. Once, for sure. At least one of his songs, “Andrew in Drag,” was found (by him) in his notebook the night after he apparently was too drunk to drive home.
He’s been called “dour,” he’s called other musicians “cynical,” which supposedly makes him a (what?) realist.
You may know him from Magnetic Fields, and if you do, you surely know the album “69 Love Songs.”
Maybe you know his music from the Lemony Snicket books. (He wrote an album meant to accompany the tomes, as much as Merritt would ever admit to anything meaning anything)
Indie film fans will recognize his talent from such soundtracks as “Pieces of April.” He’s collaborated with, amongst others, The Gothic Archies and The 6ths. He also won an Obie for his Off-Broadway musical version of the twistedly popular children’s novella “Coraline.”
If you’ve made it this far, now’s the time to tell you that Stephin Merritt is playing The Cedar on Friday. It’s part of his unique solo tour (well, hold on a minute, he’s appearing with cellist Sam Davol), unique because Merritt’s promised to play acoustic versions of songs from his canon, 26 of them, in titled alphabetical order, no less.
Maybe you love his music, but are put off by his persona. Maybe it’s the reverse.
Whatever the case, just know this. As much as he enjoys playing the enigmatic rebel without a … I was going to say “cause,” but I’ll say “meaning” instead … he can pen a line like this:
“You are a splendid butterfly/It is your wings that make you beautiful.”
Go run through the alphabet with him. Who knows what little words he’ll come up with.