Sunday, June 21, 2009

885. The Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs (1999)

Track Listing

Disc: 1

1. Absolutely Cuckoo
2. I Don't Believe in the Sun
3. All My Little Words
4. Chicken With It's Head Cut Off
5. Reno Dakota
6. I Don't Want to Get Over You
7. Come Back from San Francisco
8. Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side
9. Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits
10. Cactus Where Your Heart Should Be
11. I Think I Need a New Heart
12. Book of Love
13. Fido, Your Leash Is Too Long
14. How Fucking Romantic
15. One You Really Love
16. Punk Love
17. Parades Go By
18. Boa Constrictor
19. Pretty Girl Is Like
20. My Sentimental Melody
21. Nothing Matters When We're Dancing
22. Sweet-Lovin' Man
23. Things We Did and Didn't Do

Disc: 2

1. Roses
2. Love Is Like Jazz
3. When My Boy Walks Down the Street
4. Time Enough for Rocking When We're Old
5. Very Funny
6. Grand Canyon
7. No One Will Ever Love You
8. If You Don't Cry
9. You're My Only Home
10. (Crazy for You But) Not That Crazy
11. My Only Friend
12. Promises of Eternity
13. World Love
14. Washington, D.C.
15. Long-Forgotten Fairytale
16. Kiss Me Like You Mean It
17. Papa Was a Rodeo
18. Epitaph for My Heart
19. Asleep and Dreaming
20. Sun Goes Down and the World Goes Dancing
21. Way You Say Good-Night
22. Abigail, Belle of Kilronan
23. I Shatter

Disc: 3

1. Underwear
2. It's a Crime
3. Busby Berkeley Dreams
4. I'm Sorry I Love You
5. Acoustic Guitar
6. Death of Ferdinand de Saussure
7. Love in the Shadows
8. Bitter Tears
9. Wi' Nae Wee Bairn Ye'll Me Beget
10. Yeah! Oh, Yeah!
11. Experimental Music Love
12. Meaningless
13. Love Is Like a Bottle of Gin
14. Queen of the Savages
15. Blue You
16. I Can't Touch You Anymore
17. Two Kinds of People
18. How to Say Goodbye
19. Night You Can't Remember
20. For We Are the King of the Boudoir
21. Strange Eyes
22. Xylophone Track
23. Zebra


Just look at that track listing! 69 love songs filling up three CDs reaching almost three hours in music. You might think that no one could make an album like this and still be consistently good throughout. And Stephin Merritt proves you wrong.

At first it is all too much to take in, you start off by admiring the sheer scope of the album, the variety of musical forms, some of the wittiness of the songs, the way it tries never to bore you by shifting along, the tributes to other love songs, etc.. It is only around the third listen through that the songs gain individuality, you recognize them and you start having favourites.

When this happens it is hard not to love the album. All the songs are pretty great, and you develop a certain affinity to the sense of humour in the album and you will of course like some songs better than others, the thing is there are so many to choose from this can be quite an overwhelming listening experience. I was really afraid of this album, three hours was always going to tire me... well it didn't and I am sad to see it go. Maybe it should be taken into account that it is wedged between Skunk Anansie and Incubus on one side and Travis and Slipknot on the other... hence these were really three hours of rest from crap each time it came on. Thank you Mr. Merritt.

Track Highlights

1. Papa Was a Rodeo
2. Zebra
3. Busby Berkley Dreams
4. The Night You Can't Remember

(I could probably select 20 more to go here).

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The album was originally conceived as a music revue. Stephin Merritt was sitting in a gay piano bar in Manhattan, listening to the pianist's interpretations of Stephen Sondheim songs, when he decided he ought to get into theatre music because he felt he had an aptitude for it. "I decided I'd write one hundred love songs as a way of introducing myself to the world. Then I realized how long that would be. So I settled on sixty-nine. I'd have a theatrical revue with four drag queens. And whoever the audience liked best at the end of the night would get paid."

Busby Berkley Dreams:

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