All the Umbrellas in London by The Magnetic Fields

I first heard this song in December 1995. I was lying on the bed in a boutique hotel in Boston’s North End. The window was cracked open to let in the winter breeze as the room was stifling hot.

There was a small radio on the nightstand that was by chance tuned to a college radio station.

This was, as it turned out a year or so later, on the last night of my first honeymoon.

I was hooked immediately by the flanged drum beat and rolling synths of the intro. Then came Stephin Merritt’s deep voice with the opening lines:

If I make it tonight it’ll be all right
It’ll make a good song or something
I’ve been trying to give myself reasons to live
And I really can’t think of one thing

For a little over three minutes I was in a state of melancholic bliss. I still feel that way when I listen to it today.

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