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69 Love Songs (Box Set)

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iTunes Review

This ambitious 69-track set was the release that brought the classic, Brill Building-esque songwriting abilities of Magnetic Fields front man Stephen Merritt to the attention of a wider audience in 1999. He’d already made at least one stupendous concept album (‘94’s Charm of the Highway Strip) before. This time he revels over the course of three hours in his chosen subject, love. Most of the songs tell of unrequited love, and while Merritt strips away much of the misanthropic irony that characterizes his other work, one would be hard-pressed to label this effort “earnest.” The sonic palette is rich and lush; these decadent MIDI-pop songs beautifully collapse genre forms together: Broadway show tunes, Europop, bubblegum, country, New Wave, and Tin Pan Alley.  

Customer Reviews

The best $30 you'll spend on music this year.

Catchy, kaleidoscopic, and too clever by half, the Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs is a gourmet feast of pop songwriting. Stephin Merritt's biting and witty tunes explore love in all its many splendors, from the heights of elation to the depths of creepy obsession, in just about every genre under the sun. True, there's a showoffish sort of smarts at work in Merritt's songwriting, with its droll rhymes and sneaky turns of phrase, that may be borderline annoying for some listeners. But tunes like "The Book of Love" and "Asleep and Dreaming" are so loaded with real tenderness and poignance, they're downright arresting. For pure old-fashioned lyrical craftmanship, I'm not sure that either Merritt or this album has an equal.

An energizer bunny of albums

It's brilliant. It's challenging. Most of all, rewarding. This epic work from (arguably) the greatest modern songwriter will keep you enthralled for years. Covering the spectrum of love from almost as many genres as songs included, Stephin has given you something to relate to for every facet of your romantic needs. I have - at various emotional states - listened to certain songs and cried my eyes out, not believing that each word applies to how I feel at that moment. And during those personal man-sobs, at some point I gotta laugh at the lyrics and myself. This record will be with you for a lifetime. You can't not own this.

An astonishingly bold effort

I came to this album after hearing the song "All My Little Words" on an episode of "The Shield." I was entranced by the song and knew I had to have it. After buying this album, I was struck by its scope. It is an ambitious effort that mostly succeeds. Make no mistake, the album is far from perfect. There are a half dozen songs on here which seem to be painful filler, and another half dozen that simply fall flat. But the rest of the album is sheer classic, with 10 or 15 songs that transced even the 'classic' label, and become simply immortal. Few songs can be bring me to tears, but some of these songs do. For the price, it's an absolute steel. I'd be willing to pay $50 for this 3 CD set.


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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