When a colleague recently turned around and asked me out of the blue what the one album I would take to a desert island with me, I said The Magnetic Fields’ 69 Love Songs without hesitation.
Okay, so naming an album which stretches across three CDs was something of a cheat, but really, I couldn’t name any other album by any other act that offers so much diversity and replay value. 69 Love Songs, as I explained in my article here, http://www.backseatmafia.com/2013/11/06/not-forgotten-the-magnetic-fields-69-love-songs/, is one of the finest albums ever released by anyone ever.
69 Love Songs was released in 1999 and 17 years later, it is still a singular achievement – a bold undertaking by one of pop music’s most innovative and acclaimed songwriters. Originally conceived by Stephin Merritt to be a live musical revue of 100 songs, Merritt realised that 100 songs, even at 2 minutes each, would be far too long a show and decided upon the next meaningful number, 69. 69 songs about life, loss, hope and beauty. 69 songs about the pursuit of that ever elusive and patently undefinable holy grail, love.
Stephin Merritt wrote all 69 songs but enlisted the help of numerous friends to record the album including long-time collaborator Claudia Gonson, guitarist John Woo, cellist Sam Davol and Daniel Handler. 24 of the songs feature guest vocals from LD Beghtol, Dudley Klute, Shirley Simms and Gonson.
A career-defining work (as Merritt intended it to be), 69 Love Songs routinely ranks in Best Albums of All Times lists and has earned cult status. It is a celebration to the beauty, magic, humor, frustration, longing and tenderness of the human condition.
On 28 October 2016, Merritt’s three-hour magnum opus is going to be reissued on six ten inch discs of glorious vinyl through Domino Records. The lavish box set will include a full size 24-page colour booklet with liner notes by Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) including an in-depth interview and a track-by-track with Merritt. If you want one, get your order in quick though, as it will be limited to 1,000 copies.
To put your order in, head to: http://www.dominorecordco.com/uk/albums/13-11-13/69-love-songs