50 Songs, 2 Hours, 30 Minutes


Mastered for iTunes


Mastered for iTunes

Ratings and Reviews

4.1 out of 5

36 Ratings

36 Ratings

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

Nagol the Blood Elf

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.

About The Magnetic Fields

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 rock underground. His songs are also far warmer and more purely pop-oriented than the above references indicate, sounding at times like late 20th century equivalents to the catalogs of Phil Spector or Brian Wilson.

Merritt began recording music on his own four-track at a young age, but he didn't issue the first Magnetic Fields album until 1990, when he was well into his twenties. The first pair of discs featured the choir girl vocals of Susan Anway, but Merritt handled the vocals himself on most subsequent releases, singing in a deep croon not far removed from his European influences. The synth pop quotient also became heavier on those albums, although Merritt always took care to mix in quite a few natural instruments with the electronic ones, often with the help of Claudia Gonson (percussion) and Sam Davol (cello, flute). Throughout it all, an emphasis remained on the band's pop hooks and eccentric, romantically reflective lyrics rather than the bedrock synthetic rhythms and textures.

In addition to his work with Magnetic Fields, Merritt involved himself in several side projects over the years, the most notable being the 6ths' Wasps' Nests album in 1995. Merritt sang only one track himself on this disc, for which he acted as composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist, employing well-known alternative rock singers like Barbara Manning, Dean Wareham (Luna), Lou Barlow, Georgia Hubley (Yo La Tengo), Chris Knox, and Robert Scott (the Bats) to handle the lead vocals. After releasing 1997's New Despair as the Gothic Archies, Merritt finally returned to the Magnetic Fields aegis for 1999's 69 Love Songs, released as both a trio of separate discs and a limited-edition three-CD box set. Merritt spent the next few years releasing more side projects, including records from the Gothic Archies, Future Bible Heroes, and the 6ths, as well as numerous soundtracks.

It wasn't until May 2004 that Merritt and his Magnetic Fields finally got around to making i, a collection of songs that begin with the aforementioned vowel. Distortion followed in early 2008; shortly thereafter, Merritt set to work on an acoustic folk-influenced album, Realism, which was released in January 2010. The Magnetic Fields returned in 2012 with Love at the Bottom of the Sea. Showcasing a return to the band's classic synthesizer and acoustic guitar pop sound, the album featured the single "Andrew in Drag." In 2016, Merritt announced an ambitious new album, 50 Song Memoir, which he said was meant to reflect his first 50 years of life on Earth, as well as the 50 different musical instruments used during the recording sessions. In late 2016, Merritt set out on a series of live dates in which he performed the song cycle as part of a show directed by José Zayas. The autobiographical album was released in March 2017. ~ Richie Unterberger

Boston, MA




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