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Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs

STEPHIN MERRITT - The often singular creative force behind the sometimes band, THE MAGNETIC FIELDS have gone and released an album described by some as nothing less than a '21st century songbook' and by others as an 'antidote' to the mindless conventions of rockisms, and even by some as an humble masterpiece. And yes, it really does have 69 tracks. This time, however he's been more than ably abetted by the likes of LD BEGHTOL, DUDLEY KLUTE and SHIRLEY SIMMS.

Inncurably romantic? Perhaps. That's if you are talking a genuine understanding and respect for the melancholic, bittersweet, hopelessness of romance and love - the sadness, the joy, the sex - the ongoing drama of love and the grandiose theatre of longing- all the emotions that seem to coexist with love and with the orchestra that appears to drive it. Then yes, you could say it was romantic.

69 LOVE SONGS is also tirelessly self-referential and analytical. The album is as much compounded in the droll, american rehab culture of psychoanalysis as it is in the spirit of romance. From it's faux broadway showtunes to its dark, lagubrious soliloquys 69 LOVE SONGS is the musical equaivalent of a Woody Allen love burlesuque. A little "Love and Death", a little "Hannah and Her Sisters", and certainly a little "Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask". There's certainly no doubting the drama of the thing, that's for sure, as it sweeps you breathlessly along in its sweet but difficult spirit which is as infectiously universal as it is ruthlessly listenable. A little bit Human League, a little bit Ethel Murman, a little bit Brian Wilson, a more than a little bit Judy Garland. Always with a whimper. Always with a bang.

The idea for 69 LOVE SONGS (or so the story goes - and it's a good one) is that Stephin struck on the idea whilst sitting in a midtown Manhattan gay piano bar. Stephen is said to have originally contrived the idea of it taking the form of a live musical revue, performed with a rotating cast of singers in the plush hotel bars and cabarets of New York City. Too long to be a "100 Love Songs" Merritt arrived at the number"69" due to its visual appeal as an illustration.

'Concept albums' are nothing new in The Magnetic Fields camp. All the albums prior to this have had somekind of recurrent themes and motifs: the longing for escape, the monstrous etc, so it was a natural enough progression.

The songs on a another front mark the contractual obligation of his tie to Merge records, as it's now some 3 years since the last Magnetic release. But if obligations come as good as this, lets hope he feels obliged to provide another. Rolling Stone magazine would certainly have it so placing it at #9 in their top 20 albums of 2000. The editor of Amazon also placed it mighty highly in their review of the year.

But what plans does Stephin have for the immediate future?

" 69 Love Songs may become a stage revue, but Iím writing a film musical with Daniel Handler, the novelist, and our accordion player. The film will be called THE SONF FROM VENUS. Itís a science-fiction love story about a record from Venus that invades the Earth and makes people fall in love. "

While writing 69 LOVE SONGS Stephin adhered to strict three-songs-a-day quota, something which he's always alleged to be successful. Even by Stephin's own admission most of the songs came out well, but a few of them didnít, and he threw them away. But what's the loss when you're that prolific?

Stephen is currently planning a US tour in March/April with possible European and Japanese dates to follow.

Full track listing:

Disc: 1
1. Absolutely Cuckoo
2. I Don't Believe In The Sun
3. All My Little Words
4. A Chicken With Its Head Cut Off
5. Reno Dakota
6. I Don't Want To Get Over You
7. Come Back From San Francisco
8. The Luckiest Guy On The Lower East Side
9. Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits
10. The Cactus Where Your Heart Should Be
11. I Think I Need A New Heart
12. The Book Of Love
13. Fido, Your Leash Is Too Long
14. How Fucking Romantic 15. The One You Really Love
16. Punk Love
17. Parades Go By
18. Boa Constrictor
19. A Pretty Girl Is Like...
20. My Sentimental Melody
21. Nothing Matters When We're Dancing
22. Sweet-Lovin' Man
23. The 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. Not That Crazy, (Crazy For You But) 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. The Sun Goes Down And The World Goes Dancing
21. Way You Say Good-Night, The 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. The 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. The Night You Can't Remember
20. For We Are The King Of The Boudoir 21. Strange Eyes 22. Xylophone Track 23. Zebra

69 Love Songs was aided and abetted by:

LD Beghtol - vocals on 'All My Little Words', 'My Sentimental Melody", 'Roses', 'The Way You Say Goodnight', 'For We Are The King of the Boudoir', 'Bitter Tears'

Dudley Klute - vocals on 'The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side', 'How Fucking Romantic', 'Very Funny', 'Long-Forgotten Fairytale', 'It's a Crime', 'Blue You'

Shirley Simms - Vocals on 'Come Back From San Francisco', 'Boa Constrictor', 'No One Will Ever Love You', 'Kiss Me Like You Mean It', 'I'm Sorry I Love You', 'Strange Eyes'

Daniel Handler - novelist and accordion player. Also plays accordion on a track on the new 6ths album.

Claudia Gonson sings 'Reno Dakota', 'Sweet-Lovin Man', 'If You Don't Cry', 'Washington D.C.', 'Acoustic Guitar', 'Yeah! Oh Yeah!', and 'Zebra'.

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01/01 Grandaddy European Tour Cancelled
01/01 Hopewell - Curved Glass
01/01 Kristin Hersh - Live at Underworld
01/01 Lowgold - Just Backward of Square
01/01 Magnetic Field - 69 Love Songs
01/01 Rufus Wainwright - Poses
01/01 Stephen Malkmus - Solo Album

January 2001
July - August 2001
September - October 2001


2-4-7-MUSIC.COM 2006

STILL refusing to dumb it down.

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