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69 Love Songs

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Magnetic Fields 9/7/1999

Review

As the sprawling magnitude of its cheeky title suggests, 69 Love Songs is Stephin Merritt's most ambitious as well as most fully realized work to date, a three-disc epic of classically chiseled pop songs that explore both the promise and pitfalls of modern romance through the jaundiced eye of an irredeemable misanthrope. A true A-to-Z catalog of touchingly bittersweet love songs that runs the gamut from tender ballads to pithy folk tunes to bluesy vamps, the sheer scope of the record allows all of Merritt's musical personas to converge -- the regular use of guest vocalists recalls his work as the 6ths, the romantic fatalism suggests the Gothic Archies project, and the stately melodies evoke the Future Bible Heroes. The whole is much greater than the sum of its parts, however -- for all of Merritt's scathing wit and icy detachment, there's a depth and sensitivity to these songs largely absent from his past work, and each one of these 69 tracks approaches l'amour from refreshing angles, galvanizing the love song form with rare sophistication and elegance. Naturally, given a project of this size there's the occasional bit of filler, but all in all, 69 Love Songs maintains a remarkable consistency throughout, and the highlights ("I Don't Believe in the Sun," "All My Little Words," "Asleep and Dreaming," "Busby Berkeley Dreams," and "Acoustic Guitar," to name just a few) are jaw-droppingly superb. Also available as three individual releases, 69 Love Songs was nevertheless conceived as a whole and is best absorbed as such, with all of its twists and turns taken in stride; despite its three-hour length, the music boasts the craftsmanship and economy that remain the hallmarks of classic American pop songwriting, a tradition Merritt upholds even as he subverts the formula in new and brilliant ways. ~ Jason Ankeny
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Absolutely Cuckoo Magnetic Fields 1:35
  3. 2 I Don't Believe in the Sun Magnetic Fields 4:17
  4. 3 All My Little Words Magnetic Fields 2:46
  5. 4 A Chicken with It's Head Cut Off Magnetic Fields 2:42
  6. 5 Reno Dakota [Live Classics] Magnetic Fields 1:6
  7. 6 I Don't Want to Get Over You Magnetic Fields 2:19
  8. 7 Come Back from San Francisco Magnetic Fields 2:48
  9. 8 The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side Magnetic Fields 3:38
  10. 9 Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits Magnetic Fields 2:25
  11. 10 The Cactus Where Your Heart Should Be Magnetic Fields 1:11
  12. 11 I Think I Need a New Heart Magnetic Fields 2:31
  13. 12 The Book of Love Magnetic Fields 2:43
  14. 13 Fido, Your Leash Is Too Long Magnetic Fields 2:34
  15. 14 How Fucking Romantic Magnetic Fields 0:59
  16. 15 The One You Really Love Magnetic Fields 2:53
  17. 16 Punk Love Magnetic Fields 0:58
  18. 17 Parades Go By Magnetic Fields 2:57
  19. 18 Boa Constrictor Magnetic Fields 0:59
  20. 19 A Pretty Girl Is Like Magnetic Fields 1:51
  21. 20 My Sentimental Melody [Live Classics] Magnetic Fields 3:8
  22. 21 Nothing Matters When We're Dancing Magnetic Fields 2:27
  23. 22 Sweet-Lovin' Man Magnetic Fields 4:59
  24. 23 The Things We Did and Didn't Do Magnetic Fields 2:11
  25. 1 Roses Magnetic Fields 0:28
  26. 2 Love Is Like Jazz [Live Classics] Magnetic Fields 2:57
  27. 3 When My Boy Walks Down the Street Magnetic Fields 2:38
  28. 4 Time Enough for Rocking When We're Old [Live Classics] Magnetic Fields 2:4
  29. 5 Very Funny [Live Classics] Magnetic Fields 1:27
  30. 6 Grand Canyon Magnetic Fields 2:29
  31. 7 No One Will Ever Love You Magnetic Fields 3:15
  32. 8 If You Don't Cry Magnetic Fields 3:7
  33. 9 You're My Only Home [Live Classics] Magnetic Fields 2:18
  34. 10 (Crazy for You But) Not That Crazy Magnetic Fields 2:19
  35. 11 My Only Friend Magnetic Fields 2:1
  36. 12 Promises of Eternity Magnetic Fields 3:46
  37. 13 World Love Magnetic Fields 3:7
  38. 14 Washington, D.C. Magnetic Fields 1:53
  39. 15 Long-Forgotten Fairytale Magnetic Fields 3:37
  40. 16 Kiss Me Like You Mean It Magnetic Fields 2:1
  41. 17 Papa Was a Rodeo Magnetic Fields 5:2
  42. 18 Epitaph for My Heart Magnetic Fields 2:50
  43. 19 Asleep and Dreaming [Live Classics] Magnetic Fields 1:53
  44. 20 The Sun Goes Down and the World Goes Dancing Magnetic Fields 2:46
  45. 21 The Way You Say Good-Night Magnetic Fields 2:45
  46. 22 Abigail, Belle of Kilronan Magnetic Fields 2:1
  47. 23 I Shatter [Live Classics] Magnetic Fields 3:9
  48. 1 Underwear Magnetic Fields 2:50
  49. 2 It's a Crime Magnetic Fields 3:55
  50. 3 Busby Berkeley Dreams [Live Classics] Magnetic Fields 3:37
  51. 4 I'm Sorry I Love You Magnetic Fields 3:6
  52. 5 Acoustic Guitar [Live Classics] Magnetic Fields 2:38
  53. 6 The Death of Ferdinand de Saussure Magnetic Fields 3:11
  54. 7 Love in the Shadows [Live Classics] Magnetic Fields 2:54
  55. 8 Bitter Tears Magnetic Fields 2:51
  56. 9 Wi' Nae Wee Bairn Ye'll Me Beget Magnetic Fields 1:56
  57. 10 Yeah! Oh, Yeah! Magnetic Fields 2:20
  58. 11 Experimental Music Love Magnetic Fields 0:30
  59. 12 Meaningless Magnetic Fields 2:8
  60. 13 Love Is Like a Bottle of Gin [Live Classics] Magnetic Fields 1:46
  61. 14 Queen of the Savages Magnetic Fields 2:11
  62. 15 Blue You [Live Classics] Magnetic Fields 3:3
  63. 16 I Can't Touch You Anymore Magnetic Fields 3:6
  64. 17 Two Kinds of People Magnetic Fields 1:10
  65. 18 How to Say Goodbye Magnetic Fields 2:48
  66. 19 The Night You Can't Remember Magnetic Fields 2:18
  67. 20 For We Are the King of the Boudoir Magnetic Fields 1:15
  68. 21 Strange Eyes Magnetic Fields 2:2
  69. 22 Xylophone Track Magnetic Fields 2:47
  70. 23 Zebra Magnetic Fields 2:16

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