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http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/41d1b1bfa4831ccf33d8f83b0b4d29721c4a75e3.jpg Obscurities

Stephin Merritt

Obscurities

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September 12, 2011

"We are the rats in the garbage of the Western World/So let’s dance" sings Stephin Merritt on the well-named "Rats in the Garbage of the Western World," a hilariously touching tribute to The Cure that sounds like it was recorded with a Casio toy keyboard in a VW beetle. It's perfect, but not the best song on this set of Nineties rarities by a dude whose cast-offs trump most bands' masterworks: That'd be a tie between the drolly sincere ukelele marriage ballad "Forever and a Day" and a remake (w/ singer Susan Anway) of the Magnetic Fields classic "Take Ecstasy With Me." Yeah, he's a romantic; a cynic, too. But above all, a songwriter: brilliant, perverse, funny as human nature. Which is pretty damn funny.

Listen to "Forever and a Day":

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    Song Stories

    “Fantasy”

    Mariah Carey | 1995

    Serendipity stuck when Mariah Carey rediscovered the glitchy Tom Tom Club hook, a sample of which is the heart of this upbeat slice of dance pop. "I had the melody idea for 'Fantasy' and I was listening to the radio and heard 'Genius of Love,' and I hadn't heard it in a long time," Carey said. "It reminded me of growing up and listening to the radio and that feeling the song gave me seemed to go with the melody and basic idea I had for 'Fantasy.' I initially told [co-writer] Dave Hall about the idea, and we did it. We called up the Tom Tom Club and they were really into it."

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