Former lead singer Susan Anway has passed away. The vocalist, who sang lead vocals on the first two Magnetic Fields albums, died of complications from Parkinson’s disease. This news was confirmed by the band on social media earlier today.
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In their statement, the band reveals that they first met Anway in the 1980s while she was a singer for the local Boston band V. “She was a lovely person and will be missed by all of us,” writes the band.
Anway sang on The Magnetic Fields’ 1991 debut album Distant Plastic Trees as well as the 1992 follow-up The Wayward Bus. In the 2010s, Anway contributed to the electropop band Diskarnate.
The Magnetic Fields are an American band originally founded by singer-songwriter Stephin Merritt in 1989. Driven by the genius of Merrit and various contributors, this indie pop group’s most notorious project is the 1999 three-volume concept album 69 Love Songs.
The band released its twelfth studio album last year. The aptly named Quickies features 28 quick tracks that are both catchy and quirky. This album features the sharply satirical track “The Day The Politicians Died.” The song is a stripped-back piano ballad that juxtaposes gloomy instrumentals with unique lyrics that express joy over politicians eventually dying. The eerie music video for this track showcases grainy visuals from the early half of the 20th century.
Back in 2017, The Magnetic Fields released 50 Song Memoir, a deeply personal 50-track project that highlights important moments from Merritt’s life. This autobiographical concept album puts Merritt’s musical talents on full display as it features witty and poignant songwriting as well as an eclectic range of instrumentation.