Only a few things make me want to raise my hands in the air and spin. “Take Ecstasy With Me,” the last track on the Magnetic Fields’ Holiday, is one of these things. The idea of !!! overloading a blissful, homoerotic love ballad with funk guitar and disco beats is enough to make me start wearing a bike helmet as a precaution.
Released as a twelve-inch single with a B-side cover of Nate Dogg’s “Get Up,” !!!’s rendition of “Take Ecstasy With Me” sports the notable addition of a heavy beat and a very un-!!! string quartet. On the original track, the drums were faint and almost non-existent; Stephin Merritt’s over-worked synths constructed the spine of the song. Most commendable is !!!’s cocky-as-fuck vocalist, Nic Offer (also of Out Hud), who channels Merritt’s lackadaisical baritone so well it’ll have listeners checking liner notes to make sure Merritt didn’t track the cover vocals himself.
In typical !!! fashion, both songs are stretched well past their original lengths. The elongation is barely noticeable on “Take Ecstasy With Me,” but on the nearly ten-minute version of “Get Up” it becomes a problem. The song doesn’t offer much to get excited about until three minutes in, when it transforms from a sometimes drowsy and relatively straightforward cover to an unruly jam session possibly fueled by all those crazy pills ingested from the previous song. As the rhythm section picks up the tempo, all sorts of guitar squeals and electronic clatter emerge. It feels less like a cover at this point, but as long as “I’m on my way to the liquor store,” everything is okay.