AOTY 2018

Love Is Magic

John Grant - Love Is Magic
Critic Score
Based on 19 reviews
2018 Ratings: #290 / 705
User Score
Based on 50 ratings
2018 Ratings: #469
October 12, 2018 / Release Date
LP / Format
Bella Union, Partisan / Label
Synthpop / Genres
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Your Review


The Skinny

Love is Magic is full of tender proclamations and acerbic bile, mania and zen, bouncing between emotional states with barely contained zest – it's an absolute joy to be along for the ride.

The Independent

His brilliant fourth album Love Is Magic takes listeners on a ... thrill ride, dominated by swirling loops of grand, romantic melody, sly twists of sardonic wit and heart-stopping drops of sheer honesty.

Drowned in Sound

Perched now on an electric plane of mirror ball strobes and totally Eighties aesthetics: Grant himself has moulted now into a sleek new phoenix, one that can giggle at life’s cruelest gags, even when the jest still stings.

The Line of Best Fit

Listen to Love Is Magic ... and you experience his customary level of brutal honesty, irresistible vulnerability and wit – but with the electronics dialled way up.


The Michigan-born singer has returned to the inner-complexities of his bizarre mind, mixing his unique lyricism with an onslaught of synths that goes far beyond his trademark frequencies.


A silly, smutty slice of arch brilliance that also makes room for quiet introspection, the American musicians's fourth album is an accomplished balancing act.


It’s his most electronic album to date. He sounds as though he’s having fun, but he’s also rightly concerned by the state of the world and those in power.

‘Love Is Magic’ feels like a victory lap. Frequently boundary-pushing, side-splittingly funny and anything but safe, John Grant’s fourth LP is a rip-roaring thrill ride that’s immensely danceable to boot.

... an album that feels more like an experience than a collection of songs and finds Grant at his loosest, funniest, and most heartbreaking.

Under The Radar

Love Is Magic finds that something else in a mix of dreamy '80s electro-pop layered with driving beats and wide-ranging lyrics switching between heartfelt, incredulous, and profane.

God Is in the TV
The result is a paradise of playful, soothing and unpredictable space-electronica that’s enjoyable even if John Grant’s occasional overbearing lyrics aren’t really your thing.
The 405

Love is Magic is perhaps John Grant's most consistent and enjoyable work yet. Thankfully, it still showcases his trademark unpredictability. Soft love songs still turn sexual. Robotic voices are paired with Grant’s prettiest singing. The list goes on.


The masterful bearded balladeer John Grant's fourth LP, Love Is Magic, rarely matches the soaring heights of his past triumphs.

By constructing a loose concept album around love, he has aimed for a concept larger than life. His own ambition may be his downfall. He won’t complain.
Loud and Quiet

It’s an album littered with both moments of brilliance and points at which he would have been well-served to rein himself in a little bit.


It makes for a somewhat uneven listen, but the highs remain very high. An artist with a rare talent is never served well by standing still and it is pointless to expect them to repeatedly churn out the same material.

The Guardian
A great many people will love John Grant’s fourth solo album, and they will not be wrong to do so ... Another reading, though, is that this is Grant’s least satisfying album yet.
The Telegraph
How you feel about John Grant's fourth solo album may well depend on whether you can make it past the musically schizoid and lyrically bewildering opening track.
Spectrum Culture

It’s hard to say that Grant has delivered a failure here. If his intention is to make us squirm he has certainly succeeded on that account. Listening from end-to-end proves taxing.

On Love is Magic, John Grant paints a poignant and introspective world of uncertainty and paranoia. With an eclectic mix of mania and oneness with self, John's volatile nature is on full display, where the moments of sanity are soft. reflective, and nostalgic, and the more energetic and fast-paced cuts are strange and eccentric. Blended together with an excellent use of trackers from video game hardware and 80s-appropriate sonic sweeps. It all comes together in a beautiful allegory for the ... read more
Every song on this new John Grant album is interchangeable with any song on the new Matthew Dear album.

Middle hitter, NR
A gloomy, downbeat album coming complete with dark synths and brilliant imagery presented through the songs' lyrics.

Metamorphosis [94] (This track is set in a ternary ABA structure, with some zany lyrics in the A parts backed with Grant's fun, over-the-top voice. The B part sounds pretty dreamy in contrast to the wacky beginning and end.)
Love Is Magic [104] (Unlike Metamorphosis, which was through-composed, this track is strophic. I love how this track explores the pains of intimacy with ... read more
#1 Metamorphosis, #2 Love Is Magic, #8 Is He Strange
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#16/The Independent
#26/Rough Trade
#55/Piccadilly Records

Track List

  1. Metamorphosis
  2. Love Is Magic
  3. Tempest
  4. Preppy Boy
  5. Smug Cunt
  6. He's Got His Mother's Hips
  7. Diet Gum
  8. Is He Strange
  9. The Common Snipe
  10. Touch and Go
Contributions By
thisisabtlgrnd, patton, bgod
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Added on: July 10, 2018