Monday, April 16, 2012

Late Discoveries: The Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs

Late Discoveries is a new periodical for ST&SP. It has been created because we're only human and can't be up on every band on the planet. Sometimes we arrive late to a great album.

For myself 2012 is the year I discovered The Magnetic Fields. Their hit "Andrew In Drag" from Love At The Bottom Of The Sea is easily my favorite song of the year thus far, I decided to delve into their catalogue and it wasn't long until I found myself tearing through 69 Love Songs their epic triple album comprised of, you guessed it, sixty-nine songs about love. Yet, saying this album is just a collection of love songs is putting it too simply. What Stephin Merritt has done is composed a musical version of a doctoral study on love. Each song is told from a different character's point of view and deals with love in different frames of light using many different subjects of love. The way he writes love songs reminds me of early tracks by The Beatles. So simple, so catchy and concise yet such a hard accomplishment to achieve. Merritt isn't just a singer and lyricist, his lyrics are poetry. Here are just a few of my personal favorite lines from this record:

"You need me like the wind needs the trees to blow in Like the moon needs poetry"
"Pack bags, call cabs and hurry home to me"
"Let this be the epitaph for my heart Cupid put too much poison in the dart"
"The book of love has music in it In fact that's where music comes from Some of it is just transcendental Some of it is just really dumb" 

Since this album covers an array of topics concerning love, it's no surprise that at least one song has a "oh man, I've been there" moment for every listener. In fact this album has sort of evolved into the hipster wedding/breakup record by containing ample tracks about both subjects. All in all 69 Love Songs is already seen as a classic and a monumental achievement in creative writing. It's no wonder Stephin Merritt is referred to as the Cole Porter of this generation.
Check out this Spotify Playlist I made featuring my favorite tracks from 69 Love Songs

1 comment:

  1. You may enjoy Rick Moody's 69 Love Songs playlist.

    I like your selections, but I'm surprised not to see "Busby Berkeley Dreams," a personal favorite. I shivered when I first heard them play that at Spaceland in 2000, when I was not an old man who tells people about how cool stuff was back in the day.

    (Actually, that's bullshit. By 2000, Coachella had started, which means I was already telling people how cool the first Lollapalooza was.)

    Don't overlook their pre-69 Love Songs work -- Holiday is pure gold.