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50 Song Memoir

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Album Review

In the grand tradition of the 1999 indie rock classic 69 Love Songs, Stephin Merritt returns with a new grand-scale recording project from his ad-hoc group the Magnetic Fields. 50 Song Memoir is an autobiographical song cycle that Merritt began recording on his 50th birthday. An autobiographical work, these 50 songs reflect many aspects of life during Merritt's first half-century; Merritt's website describes the tunes as "a mix of autobiography (bedbugs, Buddhism, buggery) and documentary (hippies, Hollywood, hyperacusis)." The title also references the 50 different musical instruments that Merritt and his collaborators used while recording the album.

Customer Reviews

Gutsy but Glorious

It's a ballsy move for any band, let alone a very non-mainstream, indie band to release a 50 track $30-35 album that's not a compilation of sorts, but if anybody can pull it off, it's these guys; and pull it off they do, big time.

For fans of The Magnetic Fields, this is pure glory. For anybody else, it would be even more so, as they would be given a 50 track introduction to one of the best bands they've never heard of for the price of a tank of gas.

The way I see it, if the 50 tracks were broken into 4-5 10-12 track albums, I'd have shelled out $7.99-$9.99 a pop for them anyway, so 50 fresh tracks from an amazing band for $34 is quite a steal.

Listen through all 50 years

Merritt really hits his stride starting in the late 90s tracks and lasting all the way through to the end. From my perspective, 98-15 contain the majority of the songs that contain the sound I love the most from The Magnetic Fields.


This is Stephin Merritt's best since 69 Love Songs! A great album. Every track is supposed to represent a year of his life. The lyrics are just the same as you've always loved from the Magnetic Fields, funny, and also touching at times without being twee or cutesy. A must listen.


Formed: 1990 in Boston, MA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The Magnetic Fields may be a bona fide band, but in most essential respects they are the project of studio wunderkind Stephin Merritt, who writes, produces, and (generally) sings all of the material. Merritt also plays many of the instruments, concocting a sort of indie pop-synth rock. While the Magnetic Fields' albums draw upon the electronic textures of vintage acts like ABBA, Kraftwerk, Roxy Music with Eno, Joy Division, and Gary Numan, Merritt's vision is far more pointed toward the alternative...
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