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Eternal Youth

3.4 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

The Future Bible Heroes' first full-length since 1997's Memories of Love is a loose concept album about the undead and other everlasting life forms. Designed to appeal to indie rockers and club kids alike, the band features three complementary talents. Wordsmith Stephin Merritt (Magnetic Field, 6ths, Gothic Archies) remains endlessly quotable and droll. Chris Ewen's synth pop recalls a more twee Bauhaus or a wittier Cure. Finally, Claudia Gonson delivers the same kind of breathy vocals that broke hearts on the Magnetic Fields' 1999 69 Love Songs box set. "I'm a Vampire" ought to be a dance-floor hit ("I am what I am / And I'm impossibly glam"). "The World Is a Disco Ball" posits that "we're little mirrors, one and all." These tunes are rich with comedic pathos, as well as romantic empathy. --Jillian Steinberger
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 20, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Instinct Records
  • ASIN: B00006EXKA
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #421,863 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
As a longtime Magnetic Fields fan, I have come to expect each CD to be fairly different. Especially with Stephin's "side" projects, the 6ths, the Gothic Archies and Future Bible Heroes. Usually FBH are the furthest off from the tree, as it involves Chris Ewen in the writing process instead of solely Stephin.
Everyone is always saying how Stephin uses so many casio keyboards, but Future Bible Heroes is where the electronic blips, squelchy keyboards and other synthetics really knock over your light-bright(tm).
If I had to compare this CD to previous releases, of course I'd compare it to the FBH debut "Memories Of Love", but it is really more akin to a poppier version of the 6ths CD "Hyacinths and Thistles". Lyrically, and the fact this is the first CD since "Wayward Bus/Distant Plastic Trees" to feature solely one female vocalist, I am reminded of the debut MF CD: "WB/DPT".
The lovely Miss Claudia Gonson sings all the vocals on this CD (10 vocal tracks, 6 ewen-strumentals) More moody than "Memories of Love", the cohesiveness of having only one vocalist adds to the dream like quailty of the CD. Stephin doesn't come out of the hazey keyboard fog to spook you. It's Claudia, being fun, feisty, far-off and far-out.
In more than one place, this CD reminds me of Mimi's CD "Soak", surreal vocals, dreamy atmospherics,clashing electronics but with more pop elements than "Soak".
Losing Your Affection - Safety-dance sort of love song.

Doris Daytheearthstoodstill - imagine being a tentacled alien on a far off radiation drenched planet, watching old transmission of Earth 60's b-movies and beach boys songs.
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By A Customer on February 13, 2003
Format: Audio CD
And admittedly, he has also done worse, if we want to go on a song-by-song basis. True, the lyrics are still wry and the rhymes are clever, but unlike other albums, I didn't catch myself singing memorable little lines back to myself like I usually do after first listening to a new Stephinn Merritt-related album. I think my biggest problem, personally, may have been the lack of Stephinn's vocals. I felt that The Magnetic Fields made a turn for the better when he took over the singing duties many years ago. It's fine to delegate, but his misery-laden crooning is one of the things I like most about The Magnetic Fields. Claudia Gonson sometimes sounds bored or overwhelmed while singing, which works fine for some songs, but not for all of them. If you're not overly familiar with Merritt's generous output, I wouldn't start here, and if you're not a rabid collector of all things Merritt, you wouldn't miss too much by not having this album.
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By Jack on September 13, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Those familiar with Stephin Merritt will be unsurprised (and maybe - like me - disappointed) to discover he pursues his idiosyncratic ways with the second FBH album. All the elements for a classic electro-pop album are present, yet Merritt and partner-in-crime Christopher Ewen twist everything to create a ghostly, morose work. "Eternal Youth" only fitfully achieves the pop splendour of "Memories of Love", and there's certainly no "Hopeless" on this new album.
There are compensations: "A Thousand Lovers In A Day", "No River", and the closing "The World Is A Disco Ball" combine exquisite melodies with elegant yet forbidding lyrics and arrangements. It's certainly not an album to hear as casual background music (it's jaggedly poppy and unsettling), and I agree with the reviewer who thinks this album sounds like Merritt's earlier album "The Wayward Bus". Claudia Gonson's limitations as the album's sole vocalist sometimes make it hard going. I don't understand why Merritt doesn't utilise better vocalists; 'naive' singers like Shirley Simms and Dudley Klute on "69 Love Songs" transformed good songs into minor classics.
Some may find it regressive, but the sounds on "Eternal Youth" are far more textured and polished than anything Merritt creates with Magnetic Fields. Obviously he's committed to the art of the 3 minute pop song, but I keep hoping Merritt will expand his musical horizons.
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Format: Audio CD
Most of Stephin Merrit's work to this point has been backed to very catchy, tightly cohesive tunes, with simple and easy-to-remember synth-pop tunes. This album is a departure from that trend... Much like the Magnetic Fields' album "Distant Plastic Trees", the lyrics are layered over a background that sounds like the inside of a wet cave, yet somehow reminds one of the Jetsons cartoon as well. In that respect, this CD was a stunning improvement on what started in "Distant Plastic Trees." It is pretty good, but not in the direction I wanted to go. You served me Italian when I wanted Mexican....
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By A Customer on November 19, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I hate to say it, but I was a bit underwhelmed by this effort. Though there are a few lovely tracks on this one, (No River, Smash the Beauty Machine and From a Distant Star in particular) I found myself feeling like the vulnerability and charm of much of Merritt's other work just wasn't there. Instead it sort of felt for the most part like a creepy excursion into a self-indulgent, over-produced, meanderfest. This may sound a bit harsh, but when Stephin is on, no one can touch him so it's a little disappointing when he's not on. And for the most part, on this album, he's not on (mostly).
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