Wednesday, February 18, 2004

#69) Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs (released in 1999, I bought it the day AFTER it came out. The night of its release two of my friends who already were Stephin Merritt nuts purchased it and we listened to it in my dorm room straight through. I knew immediately I had to buy it as soon as possible. Ironically I haven't really bothered to hear much more of his work aside from the first 6ths album, which I already owned. The others seem a bit monotonous, which is pretty ironic when you consider their relative brevity.)

First off, the placement of this album on the chart is PURELY coincidental. I didn't even realize it till today. Chalk it up to my subconscious righteousness.

There's six tracks that really annoy me here and at least nine that I wish I'd written myself (especially "Long-Forgotten Fairytale" and "The Book Of Love"). If it wasn't for the other 54 amusing ditties that fill out this 3CD NON-compilation, I doubt it would have a chance of making this list (I might have even gotten rid of it by now). Curio-like without sounding overly austere, this monolith is more listenable and less tiring than any box set I own of similar length (and those competitors had decades to produce the material for it). Deftly hopping from satirical wit and genuine sentiment (except for those damn six numbers that annoy me), leader Stephin Merritt's songwriting achievement is unparalleled, in part because no one else would make such a self-consciously audacious attempt. While the textures are endearing and the vocal performances almost all commendable (ironically only Merritt - not the other three singers - ever sabotages the material), I anxiously await a deluge of cover versions. This stuff is timeless.

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