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69 Love Songs

The Magnetic Fields

1999

Buy At Rough Trade
69 Love Songs
Album Summary

69 Love Songs is the sixth studio album by American indie pop band the Magnetic Fields, released on September 7, 1999 by Merge Records. As its title indicates, 69 Love Songs is a three-volume concept album composed of 69 love songs, all written by Magnetic Fields frontman Stephin Merritt. The album was originally conceived as a music revue. Stephin Merritt was sitting in a gay piano bar in Manhattan, listening to the pianist's interpretations of Stephen Sondheim songs, when he decided he ought to get into theatre music because he felt he had an aptitude for it. "I decided I'd write one hundred love songs as a way of introducing myself to the world. Then I realized how long that would be. So I settled on sixty-nine. I'd have a theatrical revue with four drag queens. And whoever the audience liked best at the end of the night would get paid." He also found inspiration in Charles Ives' 114 Songs, about which he had read earlier in the day: "songs of all kinds, and what a monument it was, and I thought, well, I could do something like that." Band member Claudia Gonson has claimed that Merritt wrote most of the songs hanging around in bars in New York City. On seven occasions (five in the United States and two in London over four consecutive nights) the Magnetic Fields performed all 69 love songs, in order, over two nights. Several of the lavish orchestrations are more simply arranged when performed live, due to limited performers and/or equipment.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.83

Votes

11257

Genres

  • Pop
  • Indie

Reviews

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Wed Aug 18 2021
2

i ain’t listening to all that i’m happy for u tho or sorry that happened

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Fri Aug 05 2022
4

sometimes the dude from Crash Test Dummies just doesn't go low enough. For moments like that, we have this fine album.

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Fri Apr 23 2021
1

This might take the cake for most self indulgent album of the cd era. I find the sheer length simply unbearable. I don't hear anything in the music/concept to justify its insane demand on the listener. Most of it is so half baked that I find it almost insulting. I don't get it. Both the singing voices and lyrics are irritating to me. In trying to march onward and listen to this there are some okay tunes buried in there but as an album its unrefined/unfiltered stance is utterly preposterous. If someone put this on, I wouldn't be sticking around.

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Sun Nov 22 2020
5

I had a ton of trepidation going into this 3 hour listen. There's some filler, and not every song is a winner, but the bottom line is that this ambitious project worked. Stephin Merrit subverts expectations, both lyrically and musically, at every turn. It feels like the musical version of the play in Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York, a sprawling epic that grows and grows until it eats itself. I mean that in the best way. It's easy to get lost in the massive sea of songs, and I think that's the intent. Best track: The Book of Love

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Fri Apr 23 2021
4

Obviously this album is hella long - no album should be 3 hours long - but I can't help but admire it despite that - even because of it. The humor, humanness of the songs is addictive. It wasn't completely exhausting, because it felt more like hanging out with friends. The spare musicality, and the variety of instruments used, different vocalists, all help the cause.

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Sun Jan 31 2021
2

Started out quite enjoying it but there is only so much annoying shit that i can take. Ended up wanting to kill myself by the end.

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Mon Mar 06 2023
2

Are we really doing this? Yes, we're doing this.. let's go! 1. Absolutely Cuckoo - Lighthearted start, kinda jingly-jangly, but not really getting a love song vibe from this. Hopefully this is just like the prologue. 2. I Don't Believe in the Sun - Kinda depressing, quite a shift from the previous track, but much prettier and a more romantic vibe. 3. All My Little Words - Cheesy. I suppose with an assortment of 69 love songs, there's bound to be some cheese. But this is not good cheese, this is processed cheese left out in the sun too long and even ants don't want to touch it. 4. A Chicken With It's Head Cut Off - Adult contemporary with some country vibes. If you like your love songs with a healthy dose of cliches, this is the one. 5. Reno Dakota - OK, the genre shifts continue. We got a new singer, and a fun country/cabaret kinda vibe. Song was too short though. 6. I Don't Want to Get Over You - I guess depressing breakup songs also fall under the umbrella of "love songs". I'm not sure if this guy is just bad at writing poetry or is just trying to be really tongue in cheek but, damn, the song finished before I could finish my thought.. ok, next one, next one... 7. Come Back From San Francisco - I like the female singer's voice better from this group. Wistful, pretty song. 8. The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side - Meh, generic and kinda dated this one. Also cringy lyrics. 9. Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits - Was worried this was gonna be some weird furry fetish thing, but this guy just meant "fuck like rabbits". Fair game. 10. The Cactus Where Your Heart Should Be - The sockets where my eyes should be sit empty, as my eyeballs have rolled too far back into my head. 11. I Think I Need a New Heart - Dude, what is with the wailing? Sounds like a poorly built shed trying not to fall apart during a wind storm. 12. The Book of Love - "The book of love is long is boring" Ah, I see we found the inspiration for this album. 13. Fido, Your Leash is Too Long - This song is kinda neat, but ruined by this guy's blaze vocals. 14. How Fucking Romantic - What the fuck was that? 15. The One You Really Love - I swear I heard this one already. Bring back the female singer please. 16. Punk Love - Uhmm... out of nowhere with this one. But my dudes, you can't just make a sloppy, shitty song and slap the word 'punk' on it and call it a day, that's not how this works. 17. Parades Go By - Song went by, barely noticed it was finished. 18. Boa Constrictor - These lyrics though. Damn. A five year olds idea of a love song. 19 A Pretty Girl Is Like - A violent crime is sublime if you do it right? What the fuck is this guy on about? A pretty girl is not like any of the things you said... hold on.. shit, the song's over. 20. My Sentimental Melody - I like the accordion. 21. Nothing Matters When We're Dancing - OK, I can deal with this one. Throw 69 turds at the wall, some are gonna stick. 22. Sweet-Lovin' Man - I finally realized what this album has been missing this whole time, and this song gave it to me! Cowbell! More cowbell! More cowbell! 23. The Things We Did and Didn't Do - Snooze-fest. 1/3 of the way in, gonna have to take a break here and recharge the ol' batteries. 24. I'm back. 28 seconds of roses weren't long enough to form an opinion. 25. Love Is Like Jazz - Thematically this is reminiscent of "A Pretty Girl is Like" and also "Punk Love". In that they somehow manage to completely miss the mark with ridiculous analogies, insult a genre of music they're woefully incompetent at and embarrass themselves with more lazy songwriting. 26. When My Boy Walks Down the Street - OK cool, a token gay love song, it's alright. 27. Time Enough for Rocking When Were Old - A decent Johnny Cash impersonation. 28. Very Funny - Sounds like something taken out of a Disney movie. Fine I suppose. 29. Grand Canyon - Back on the country western wagon. Predictable and bland. 30. No One Will Ever Love You - Very nice guitar tone on here. Vocals pretty good. Sounds like it could work well for a pre-climax portion of a movie. 31. If You Don't Cry - The genre parade continues with some new-wave type electronica. Real jack-of-all-trades master of none vibes from this band. "If you don't cry, you don't feel it deep enough", I hear ya sister! 32. You're My Only Home - If the kid who always slept in class being forced to read from the class novel in 5th grade English class had a sound... 33. Crazy for You But Not That Crazy - BARF 34. My Only Friend - Now THIS is a love song. Why dilute a gem like this, with so much shit? 35. Promises of Eternity - After a very decent song, we get back into the slog. A microcosm of this entire 1001 album project. And yet, we soldier on, in search of the next rose growing out of a pile of manure. 36. World Love - I guess they incorporated a generic "world music" type beat to round out the genre hodgepodge. Lame. 37. Washington, D.C. - Every city has a song that immortalizes it. Don't know if Washington, D.C. has one, but this certainly ain't it. 38. Long-Forgotten Fairytale - I tuned it out. Forgive me. We're 38 songs deep here. I'm trying. 39. Kiss Me Like You Mean It - Sounds like she's singing to Jesus. I'll take a kiss from Jesus. But he better mean it. 40. Papa Was a Rodeo - Faux Johnny Cash is back. I'd rather have the real thing, thank you very much. 41. Epitaph for My Heart - Exactly the kind of lyrics you would expect from someone who thinks a love song album consisting of 69 disjointed, unfinished songs is a good idea. 42. Asleep and Dreaming - Nice, a lullaby. It almost worked too. 43. The Sun Goes Down and the World Goes Dancing - Lazy, lazy electro-pop. 44. The Way You Say Good-Night - This is one for the B-sides compilation guys. 45. Abigail, Belle of Kilronan - Holy smokes, headphone alert!!! The panning on here is really painful to listen to. You've been warned. 46. I Shatter - An attempt at a Kraftwerk type of love song this time? Find something you're good at and stick to that boys. 47. Underwear - Eeeh.. could have been something.. worthwhile, just sounds unfinished and unpolished, like much of this collection. 48. It's a Crime - The electronic bend continues. Maybe these songs should have been arranged by genre. Anyway, I've already put in more effort into this review than these guys did into writing this song. 49. Busby Berkeley Dreams - Not bad. If you do decide to run the gauntlet on this album, this track is one of a few worth your time. 50. I'm Sorry I Love You - Nice guitar riff to start, but it lacks a much needed change up or some sort of variation. All these songs are just so one-dimensional. 51. Acoustic Guitar - Y'all are really running out of ideas huh? 52. The Death of Ferdinand de Saussure - He'll be missed I'm sure. "I don't know anything about love". 52 love songs in, this is the most honest thing you've said. 53. Love in the Shadows - Another one I tuned out. 54. Bitter Tears - Generic country is back on the menu. 55. Wi' Nae Wee Bairn Ye'll Me Beget - When I saw the title, it had me worried, and my instinct was right. After murdering punk, jazz, electronica, krautrock, and country, these maniacs set their sights on more obscure victims, this time being Irish folk. R.I.P. Irish folk. 56. Yeah! Oh, Yeah! - Very, very bad song. Like one of the worst so far. And that's saying something. 57. Experimental Music Love - Yep, this is what phoning it in sounds like. 58. Meaningless - These guys are having as hard a time finishing making this album as I am finishing listening to it. Hang in there guys, we're in the home stretch. 59. Love is Like a Bottle of Gin - Oh, so it's not like jazz anymore? Or is it both? It's like a bottle of gin and jazz? Maybe a lit cigar too? Leonard Cohen called, he wants his corny shtick back. 60. Queen of the Savages - This is just filler to get to 69, isn't it? Y'all must have really been regretting this idea by this point. But you can't stop now. I can't stop now. What's next? 61. Blue You - This is probably the groups best sound. If they stick to just this aesthetic, there'd be a decent album underneath all this. 62. I Can't Touch You Anymore - Another one-note song. Would it kill y'all to write some melodic variations once in a while? 63. Two Kinds of People - A mercifully brief psalm. 64. How to Say Goodbye - I wonder if they play all 69 songs live at their concerts. I wonder if the singer's monotonous voice is his way of conserving his stamina to go 69 songs deep. Ahh fuck it, who cares? Not the singer of this song, that's for sure. 65. The Night You Can't Remember - OK, kind of a clever concept for a song. Or a pub shanty. Whatever, the song works, the singer sucks. Let's move on. 66. For We Are the King of the Boudoir - It's the royal we, you see. 67. Strange Eyes - I wonder how many people made it this far. 68. Xylophone Track - No self-respecting collection of love songs should be without at least one track, highlighting the most romantic instruments of them all. Although I'm not sure I can even hear the xylophone on here. The mental image of the singer playing his rib-cage like a xylophone partially makes up for it. 69. Zebra - Here it is, the final song. The finish line. Should I have been expecting this to be some redeeming finale, a reward for having endured this herculean endeavor? No, we end the same way the album has been going all along, with a solid, emphatic, "meh"! These guys clearly decided to try and achieve fame by way of quantity over quality. Is there a good collection of love songs in here? Yes, there is. Are there 69 songs worth? Most certainly not. Would an album of say 13 of the best of these songs earn these guys any notoriety? Most likely not. As for me, I'll chalk this up to a worthy but misguided attempt, and award myself two ice cubes, not to cool down my loins, but my wrists, much needed after typing up this summary and hopefully avoiding carpo-tunnel in the process. 🧊🧊

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Fri May 07 2021
4

Kinda wanted to hate this but I have to give respect where it's due. Inevitably there is some filler and I thought the end was weak but it deserves its place as an Indie classic.

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Mon Mar 22 2021
4

Was so disappointed when I clicked and saw that it was literally 69 songs that I was going to give it a 1. But after listening its actually great, really funny, witty, cleverly done, makes you smile. Recognised 'The a Book Of Love', maybe from a film.

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Wed Jun 30 2021
1

Quantity does not equal quality

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Thu Sep 16 2021
1

Not a chance I'm listening to this

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Mon Mar 28 2022
1

Where to begin? So much of this is just flat, boilerplate indie. The guy doing Great Value Johnny Cash vocals isn't terrible but isn't very charismatic either. The other vocalists are just there, much like the majority of the songs themselves. A lot of the songs are kind of annoying too especially when they throw in electronics that don't work. I feel like some of these songs are just supposed to be quirky/fun/whatever but they are not. At all. Overall this album would've been slightly better if they cut out about 55 of these freaking songs or released them across separate albums. I feel like an album should be sat down and listened to in its entirety. It's virtually impossible to do that with this album. Screw them for being so pretentious as to think this was a good idea. A total endurance test with very few positives. This deserves a 1 just on principle and that's exactly what it will get.

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Wed Feb 03 2021
1

Oh god it's literally 69 love songs It's 3 volumes It's 3 hours I suffered through one hour and I can't take any more. Please kill me

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Sun Mar 28 2021
2

Could have been a decent album if not for the ridiculous length and many filler songs

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Fri Apr 29 2022
1

3 hours? 3 HOURS. and then i read that wikipedia states this about the singer Stephin Merritt: "He is known for his distinctive and untrained bass voice" this is gonna be really really hard. really hard. ..... ...and when he doesn't sound like a terrible version of Leonard Cohen he sounds like Morrissey. 2 singers I can't abide by. These lyrics are terrible - trying to be clever, it's actually distracting. Look - it's clear a lot of effort went into this and as a musician I can completely appreciate that. AND YET! And yet I'm not writing these reviews for the general public - it's how much I do or do NOT connect with the music or the project. And I'm so gd disconnected right now and i'm only 12 songs in. I can't do this. Wait i did. Song 14 "How F****g Romantic" is the worst yet and i'm how far from finishing this? "Sweet Lovin' Man" (track 22 dear lord) isn't so bad mostly because we've got a new vocalist, although it could really drop right into 1983 as an unspectacular late night MTV video. holy crap i'm only 1/3 through this - i ..... "Love Is Like Jazz" was my final straw. only the second of >250 albums i could not finish no nope no no nyet nah pass 2/10 1 star.

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Wed Mar 24 2021
2

Listened to half of this. None of these were particularly special in any way.

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Mon Mar 01 2021
2

I've tried listening to this album twice, I want to like it. This time after listening to 9 songs it killed my good mood, I couldn't imagine listening to another 60 so I put on some Fats Domino again to cheer me up. It almost worked.

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Mon May 24 2021
1

What an absolute piece of trash.

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Wed Dec 22 2021
1

So awful. Even skipping part-way through songs, I couldn't further than 8-9 songs.

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Fri Jan 29 2021
5

one of the best albums. beautiful lyrics, catchy tunes, and 69 units of wit

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Thu Sep 16 2021
5

Wonderful album! Did not expect to enjoy this as much as i did when i saw the three hour run time, but the different styles of music, the different singers and the many different creative takes on the love song kept me interested all the way through. This record definitely just feels like a massive love letter to pop music, to the love song as a medium, while also clearly having a sense of humor. Loved it on first listen and will very likely return to it!

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Wed May 11 2022
5

Hands down a favourite of mine, five stars all the way. One of those albums where your favourite track changes with every listen and you discover something new or you missed from previous listens. This collection celebrates love and the feelings that come with it in often acerbic style. As a songwriter, Merritt's wit shines and whilst often popping the pretensions of love, there he also is failing to hide his secret sincerity for romantic love. Soppy at times. And there he goes, trying a jazz song, punk song, country song, calypso, dance music, all loose and never too serious. A handful of songs from the album were played during the register signing at our wedding with The Book of Love filled the room so always special to hear this again. Other highlights - the dazzilingly silly Absolutely Cuckoo; the dour I Don't Believe in the Sun; I Don't Want to Get Over You; The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side; No One Will Ever Love You (a near perfect pop song); the brilliantly funny and moving Papa Was a Rodeo; the glorious Busby Berkeley Dreams; and the frighteningly hilarious Yeah! Oh, Yeah! which was my favourite for a long time. And I was fortunate to hear the entire song cycle live over two nights at the Lyric Hammersmith. The Magnetic Fields were near shambolic but charming and all the guest artists from the record made an appearance. A memorable event. Poor Stephin suffers from a condition which makes any sound heard louder than normal begins to feedback in his left ear at every increasing volumes - when the audience applauded loudly and freely at the end of the night, he covered his ear, which to the audience seemed a bashful gesture, so they cheered and applauded all the more - poor guy, the adulation just made it more painful.

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Mon Nov 21 2022
5

Freaking genius. You gotta be a little mad to write this. So weird and so good…this is a treasure. 69 songs and There are only a few that fall flat. I’ll be coming back to this often.

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Mon Nov 28 2022
5

Three hours is a daunting commitment for a day. Happily, this was worth it, and I just wish I had had the time to savor it more. I know I missed wonderful bits. Bits I did love: "A Chicken With Its Head Cut Off" is catchy while being such a horrid but hilarious metaphor. "The Cactus Where Your Heart Should Be" is another perfect weird metaphor in an old folk style. "Love is Like Jazz" makes a delightful simile, which had me laughing out loud, but again is more perfect than silly. "Washington, D.C." is probably my new favorite city song. "Acoustic Guitar" brought Steve Earle, Charo, and GWAR together. "Love is Like Gin" again makes such a wonderful simile. "For We Are the Kings of the Boudoir" is sexy harpsichord perfection. And that's just a small percentage... I love the mixture of styles and genres and clichés. Something sounds Renaissancy and then veers into modern slang. All the glorious figures of speech and plays on words. What an amazing achievement this is.

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Fri May 21 2021
4

Better than any 69-song long album deserves to be. The duds in it weren't even bad, just kinda boring, and the highs were definitely very high. But still... its just so loooooooooooooooooooong.

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Mon Jun 28 2021
5

My god this took forever to listen to, must admit it's excellent

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Sat Sep 11 2021
5

An amazing album, every track had a standout moment. Funny, touching and beautiful, I was disappointed when it concluded. Genius.

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Mon Oct 11 2021
5

Thought this was going to be painful given it's 3 hours long but I absolutely adored every moment of it. Amazing.

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Mon Aug 09 2021
4

4.2 + Bought this box set when it first came out and it sat like a brick in my bedroom, and various college dorms. Before this weekend, I may have listened to it all the way through maybe once, if that. On initial listen, the songs felt dashed off, the arrangements sketchy, the vocal performances distracting. Knowing what to expect, I was able to give a more objective listen this time around and I'm left awed by the quality and quantity here. To be sure, there are a handful of annoying old-time ditties as well as a few beat-off tracks ("Love is Like Jazz", "Washington, DC"). But there's a light and casual feel to the album overall that lends humanity to the endeavor and I was consistently charmed throughout. Most of the songs I like best avoid satirizing love song clichés, and instead blend melody with interesting soundscapes. Each song presents interesting ideas, and examines genuine emotions and love song tropes. Despite its warts, it's hard to deny how much Stephin Merritt put into this project and I'd say overall it's extremely successful. I'm glad I finally invested the time, and hope to return someday.

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Thu Nov 09 2023
4

This album astonishingly justifies its 3-volume, 3-hour runtime. But that doesn't mean it's not long as fuck. I think the point of entry has always been the biggest flaw. I, as an example, was always intimidated by just how gargantuan the record is to really dive into it. I mean, who has 3 hours to sit and listen to an album in one sitting? Well, today, that person is me. The more popular tunes on here are classics (Book of Love, All My Little Words), but I was wondering if the lesser known tracks really belong on here, or if they're worth listening to. They are, mostly. There's a beauty in the simplicity of every song, and it never gets boring enough or repetitive enough to switch off. Could some of the fat be trimmed and we still be left with an indie darling masterpiece? Yeah, I'd say so. I would even argue you could cut out 75% of Volume 3, but then I guess you'd have to change the album title...and I mean you already made posters.

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Thu Dec 07 2023
4

Absolutely Cuckoo - 10/10 I Don’t Believe in the Sun - 8/10 All my Little Words - 8/10 A Chicken with its Head Cut off - 7.5/10 Reno Dakota - 8/10 I Don’t Want to Get Over You - 8/10 Come Back From San Francisco - 8/10 The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side - 9/10 Let’s Pretend We’re Bunny Rabbits - 8/10 The Cactus Where Your Heart Should Be - 8/10 I Think I Need A New Heart - 9/10 The Book of Love - 8/10 Fido, Your Leash is Too Long - 7.5/10 How Fucking Romantic - 7.5/10 The One You Really Love - 7.5/10 Punk Love - 6.5/10 Parades Go By - 7/10 Boa Constrictor - 7.5/10 A Pretty Girl is Like - 7.5/10 My Sentimental Melody -8.5/10 Nothing Matters When We’re Dancing - 10/10 Sweet-Lovin’ Man - 10/10 The Things We Did and Didn’t Do - 8.5/10 Roses - 7/10 Love Is Like Jazz - 6/10 When My Boy Walks Down the Street - 8/10 Time Enough for Rocking When We're Old - 8.5/10 Very funny - 7.5/10 Grand Canyon - 7.5/10 No One will Ever Love You - 8/10 If You don't Cry - 8/10 You're My Only Home - 7.5/10 (Crazy For You But) Not That Crazy - 7.5/10 My Only Friend - 8/10 Promises of Eternity - 7.5/10 World Love - 7.5/10 Washington, D.C - 9/10 Long-Forgotten Fairytale - 8/10 Kiss Me Like You Mean It - 8/10 Papa Was a Rodeo - 7.5/10 Epitaph for My Heart - 9/10 Asleep and Dreaming - 8.5/10 The Sun Goes Down and The World Goes Dancing - 8.5/10 The Way You Say Good-Night - 7.5/10 Abigail, Belle of Kilronan - 7.5/10 I Shatter - 7/10 Underwear - 7/10 It's a Crime - 7.5/10 Busby Berkeley Dreams - 8/10 I'm Sorry I Love You - 9/10 Acoustic Guitar - 8/10 The Death of Ferdinand de Saussure - 8/10 Love in The Shadows - 7/10 Bitter Tears - 9/10 Wi'Nae Wee Bairn Ye'll Me Beget - 8/10 Yeah! Oh, Yeah - 8/10 Experimental Music Love - 6/10 Meaningless - 9/10 Love is Like a Bottle of Gin - 8/10 Queen of The Savages - 8/10 Blue You - 8/10 I Can't Touch You Anymore - 7.5/10 Two Kinds of People - 7.5/10 How to Say Goodbye - 8/10 The Night You Can't Remember - 7.5/10 For We Are The Kings of the Boudoir - 7.5/10 Strange Eyes - 7/10 Xylophone Track - 7/10 Zebra - 7.5/10 TOTAL - 536/690

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Wed May 03 2023
3

Robert Pollard is just about the only human on earth who could put out a 69 song album that might keep my interest. Stephin Merritt, talented as he is - and I mean that - is no Bob Pollard (for me, at least). Also, Pollard’s songs, both solo and with Guided By Voices, tend to be in the minute and half to two and half minute range, which would make a 69 song record a lot more manageable. Since I made very little effort to listen to all 69 songs here, and both 6 and 9 are divisible by 3, I’m giving 69 love songs 3 stars, which I think is the fairest way to do things.

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Fri Feb 09 2024
3

Jesus, Stephin Merritt, learn to edit. There are, I'm sure, a few gems in this trove of songs, but sifting them out of the nearly three hours of mid-paced, poorly recorded demos is challenging. And I am not a fan of Mr Merritt's voice. It was always a relief when sone of the collaborators took over the lead vocals. And for all the supposed 'variety', this album sounds very much the same all the way through. That said, there is some clever wordplay and some pretty tunes here. And I appreciate the conceit of the project; Merritt has said "69 Love Songs is not remotely an album about love. It's an album about love songs, which are very far away from anything to do with love." And I get that. I wonder if this album is bit like the catalogues of Leonard Cohen or Tom Waits; the songs sometimes really come to life when sung by someone else. But I just can't shake the feeling that this is a collection of demos for a really great album. If the 69 songs here were carefully whittled down to the strongest 15 or 20, and properly recorded (possibly with a less arch singers), this could have been an all-time classic. The Book of Love and Papa Was A Rodeo are really, really great pieces of songwriting. I really think people prefer the _idea_ of this record to the experience of listening to it all the way through. Some good songs, woefully under-baked. The sheer quantity here ensures that the whole is somehow less than the sum of its (many, many) parts. And with terrible cover art. I am so torn on rating this. Some of it is really good, but the whole thing exhausts me. And it sounds like rubbish. Five stars? No stars? I mean, I kinda appreciate that this exists, and I'd like to pick out my favourite songs to put on playlists,. but the idea of listening to the whole thing again fills me with dread, like a winter march through Russia. Let's call it three stars, because it is clever and well written and full of good ideas, even if the execution is shite.

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Thu Oct 05 2023
1

Man, hell no. Pretentious nonsense.

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Fri Mar 26 2021
5

Every song is the exact mix of sadness and love and beauty and truth and fiction that makes my heart pump. They aren’t all hits, but they are all good.

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Wed Dec 15 2021
5

This album in it's entirety is more than Will The Circle Be Unbroken. Jesus what am in for? I am going to break this into two days of listening, because I am currently playing catchup so 2 albums a day isn't too bad. First 23 are filled with quirky and wonderful little songs like Reno Dakota, Chicken With Its Head Cut Off, etc. Come Back From San Fransico. Very TMBG vibes. Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side slaps. First 23 songs is good, though kind of tapers off the last third. 2nd album starts with Roses and Love Is Like Jazz, puts this on a darker and weirder footing. album 2 is super dark, Noone Will Ever Love You, If You Don't Cry and others. Long Forgotten Fairy Tale is G R O O V E. Papa Was A Rodeo is beautiful. I Shatter is a great way to end the 2nd album. Third album puts the album into an electronica space, very spacey and etherial. More groove in this one than album 2. Album 3 is just all over the place, like flying over the concept of love from 30,000ft away. Love Is Like A Bottle Of Gin perfect example. Zebra is a fantastic, weird, shambolic, perfect way to end this towering weird monument to love songs.

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Wed Sep 15 2021
4

Jesus, this album is jam packed with songs, I highly recommend not listening to it in one sitting, rather spreading the listening experience out a bit. But when you do listen to it, you'll find it's a great album filled with heaps upon heaps of variety.

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Fri Feb 04 2022
4

Good tunes, lyrics, and melodies. I get why it's an indie rock classic. Could have used some editing, definitely doesn't need to be so long. Merritt's voice is definitely a love it/hate it instrument. But, if nothing else, you have to admire the album's sprawl, and there are good songs throughout.

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Wed Aug 30 2023
4

It's an ambitious project. It really showcases Stephin Merritt's range and songwriting abilities. The modern, thoughtful and often humorous takes on the subject produces some great songs, focused on many different kinds of love. But it's a tall order to produce a triple album based on a simple concept, without ending up with a lot of filler. As enjoyable as it is at points, it's a slough to listen to the entire thing. It's a missed opportunity to be honest. If Merritt could have whittled this down to a single disc of the best 20 or so songs, it would have an amazing album. Save the rest for a special expanded edition, maybe. As it is, it's a good album, but it's just too bloated. The novelty of the length is too much of a gimmicky distraction and disservice to what could have been a great album.

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Thu Nov 09 2023
4

Do your stretches before diving into this record—the ultimate love letter to love letters—and don't be surprised if your heart stretches in turn by the time you finally reach its end.

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Mon Feb 22 2021
2

Some gems on this - really lovely songs - but overall just too damn long. Yes, I get the point.

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Thu Mar 04 2021
2

Saved Prior: I Think I Need a New Heart Saved Off Rip: A Chicken With Its Head Cut Off Cutting Edge: a couple I have to go back through and pick Overall Notes: Very very long, didn't really have time to go through and truly listen to all of the songs as I am currently quite busy. An album I will be returning to in the summer when I have more time (hopefully). Placeholder grade of 2.

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Tue Apr 13 2021
2

I can hear the demonstrable talent and skill in their music, and some of the tracks are musically interesting, but the vocals in both presentation and content feel too gimmicky for my personal taste.

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Thu Oct 13 2022
2

No surprise that Love Is Like Jazz, an improvisational jazz tune, is my least favorite song. Although there is definitely worse singing on many other tracks, which also displease me. I was going to write about how insane one would have to be to think a 69 song, 2 hour 53 minute album is a good idea. But then I remembered that many people are involved in creating an album. So there had to have been several insane people involved here. I shouldn’t write insane people, that would be capricious name calling, but rather collective insane thought. SeLF EDiT PeOPLe!!!! For the love of all that is sacred, self edit. There are plenty of tracks I really like here, at least an album’s worth. It’s too damn exhausting to go back through this album and figure out which ones so I can convey them to you. As it turns out, this was originally 100 songs!!!!f*$k!!!! To their credit, they decided that 100 was too many and cut it down to 69 songs. Way to miss the mark. The range of song writing is commendable. Their are a wide variety of styles and voicings, which isn’t easy to pull off. As it stands, I’m turning this album off if it’s on. Maybe not right away, but eventually I’d hear more than one grating song in a row. Power button. With pROpeR self editing, this has 4, and maybe even 5, star potential if the best 30-35 minutes were chosen. 5 stars would likely be too generous, and if I were a dedicated reviewer, I would pick apart this album until I identified those top 10-12 songs to be sure. However, that would require enduring a plethora of exhaustion that I am not willing to suffer.

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Wed Jan 11 2023
2

Sometimes a songwriter hits such an inspired patch, the only showcase for their talents lies in a double-album (George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” & Smashing Pumpkins’ “Mellon Colie…” spring to mind). By that logic, this 3 hour long behemoth from Magnetic Fields might suggest a frenzied spell of prodigious creativity unheard of in music. Alas, this is album is about 60 songs too long. It represents the sort of mechanical approach to songwriting directly anathema to the spontaneous creativity which defines all great art. Stephen Merritt’s process consisted of blurting out some random phrase and proceeding to force a chorus out of it. It’s an extremely rudimentary style of songwriting, and utterly pretentious for the first hour or so of utterly expendable cornball indie-pop tunes. I generally found it easy to tune out of this record, only occasionally jarred into some sort of irate state by the odd plagal cadence (a serious bugbear of mine, but a favourite among jerkoff professional music eccentrics). Like I say, the gargantuan length is not a problem per se, but it can’t be filled by such pretentious claptrap. With so much shit thrown at the wall here, some of it naturally sticks. Dare I say, there is actually the makings of a decent album here (or, on second thoughts, maybe an EP). The female vocalist on this album tends to take the lead on the majority of decent cuts. But on the whole this is a pretty loathsome attempt at dragging pop music behind a fortified wall of music snobs. So I’ll sum it up in a word: pish. Favourite tracks: “I’m Sorry I Love You”; “Crazy for You”; “If You Don’t Cry”

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Sun Feb 11 2024
2

This the second longest thing that I gave it a try and regret it... The most longest still remains One Piece (anime obv).. Jokes aside, the tracks in this album are average to good and some are really good. But if I put these songs in an album of 69 tracks, they'll all seem same to me. Also just for the sake to include 69 tracks in the album, they made random 'filler' songs with 1-2 mins which I see no point of making it. And why there's a song on Washington DC in a love album lmao. This album might've worked for me if it had 10-15 tracks on album. But listening to this 69 tracks album is extremely tiring. I'd rather listen to a lofi playlist. Not 'nice' 2.5/5

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Thu Feb 10 2022
1

Wow this album actually has 69 songs on it, this is going to be a long one. "The book of love is long and boring" yeah no kidding so is this album. They really just wrote down the first idea they had and wrote a song on it, just very shallow and the effort was just to reach the number and not actually produce good music. Song 25 Update: I'm losing my mind, how is there still over 40 left? This is just torture. Song 45: I don't know if this is a joke or not, what's real? Am I sleeping, is this a nightmare from which I will never awaken? Song 68: Holy shit, it's almost over. I almost have my life back. There is hope in this world, everything ends. And it's over! I did it, I survived, life can continue! I did like "Fido, Your Leash is too long" for what it's worth.

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Fri Apr 29 2022
1

AGHHH NOOO what is this oh my no his voice made me cry his lyrics made me sob the length made me DIE. not anything good came out of this.

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Thu Feb 02 2023
1

If you have enough time to write, record, mix, and release 69 love songs, you have too much time on your hands. Get a job ya hippy

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Mon Mar 01 2021
5

Lots of filler but the good songs are so good that it gets a 5.

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Mon Jun 28 2021
5

I already adored All My Little Words so I may be biased, but I loved this. So whimsical and witty and folksy and great. It was good hearing more of the Magnetic Fields.

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Thu Jan 28 2021
5

Great songs with much variety

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Mon Mar 01 2021
5

Part 1 is absolutely flawless. Maybe a top 5 all time album for me. Would put this above probably any album we've heard so far.

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Fri May 21 2021
5

I really like the songwriting and variety on this album. It is a beast, but a solid 9/10, and leans more to a 5 for me.

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Mon Feb 22 2021
5

Soy fan desde hace siglos de Magnetic Fields pero nunca había escuchado completo este disco. Se me hacía un poco apabullante. Pero resulta que no, que a pesar de que sí son 69 canciones, todo vuela y fluye ligero. Este disco es bello, nutritivo como respirar profundamente o comerte una buena fruta. Sabe a guayaba. Pone de buen humor. Tiene una paleta de sonidos determinada que se aprehende pronto pero las posibilidades melódicas parece que son sin fin. Si te gusta el pop, el pop entendido como canciones de la vida cotidiana, tarareables, bonitas y pegajosas, tienes que escuchar este disco al menos una vez en tu vida. Creo que me obesioné. Insisto, son un vergo de canciones pero quieres más y más, no quieres que termine. Es un milagro este pedo.

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Thu Apr 08 2021
5

Quirky, endless fun. Some very creative and amazing songs on here!

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Mon May 24 2021
5

Excelente, perfecto para una cita

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Fri Jul 09 2021
5

60. Tenho de te dizer, meu, foi um prazer ouvir-te. MotA: Absolutely Cuckoo "Don't fall in love with me yet We only recently met True I'm in love with you but You might decide I'm a nut"

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Mon May 16 2022
5

I haven't cared for other Magnetic Fields stuff before and I don't normally listen to a lot of love songs or slow music but this was great.

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Fri May 27 2022
5

Najbolji trostruki album😊

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Fri May 27 2022
5

Obožavam ovaj album al mozda je maaaaaaaaaaaaalkice dug

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Thu Jun 30 2022
5

Popurrí de estilos en canciones de amor. Fascinante. Un 5 le doy.

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Fri Sep 16 2022
5

Guay. Le voy a poner un 5 porque me gustaría tenerlo en vinilo, aunque no me ha encantado del todo como para un 5. Pero, en general, lo querría tener.

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Fri Sep 16 2022
5

Popurrí de estilos en canciones de amor. Fascinante. Un 5 le doy.

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Mon Nov 14 2022
5

This album is NOT too long. You're just not long enough!

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Mon Nov 28 2022
5

I have heard The Magnetic Fields in the past, but can’t remember any of the songs. I guess I’m not a romantic because when I saw this was going to be 3 HOURS of love songs I was filled with dread. Seemed like this was an awfully long assignment that was sure to become grating… This morning when I started listening I was most pleasantly surprised. It was quirky and not what I was dreading (the quote attributed to Merritt in the Wikipedia article makes so much sense : “69 Love Songs is not remotely an album about love. It's an album about love songs, which are very far away from anything to do with love.”). Each song is unique and delightful. There are some truly crazy lyrics with wonderfully offbeat analogies and observations. Amazing to find so many creative ways to write a love song. The styles of songs are all over the place. And the music is varied and great! This is an incredible accomplishment and wildly entertaining! I’m very glad that this assignment pressed me to invest time in such a long album. This was a ton of fun and something I will enjoy listening to again and again!

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Mon Nov 28 2022
5

Wow. There are a lot of songs here. But there's a lot of variety in style and instrumentation so I never really got bored or tired, just overwhelmed by the assignment. Thematically, yeah, they're all love songs of a sort. Some are silly, some are sweet, some are poignant, some heart-breaking. Lyrics are worth paying attention to for sure. So much to love.

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Mon Nov 28 2022
5

Hmmmm…I guess to wanted to dislike this album as soon as I saw the~3hr love song theme. But once I started listening, it was mostly a warm reception from me. I like a lot, but does that push it to a 5? I struggle,,,

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Tue Jan 18 2022
5

Ote vanhasta taideteoksestani: One morning in 2004, I was woken up by the sound of a package being delivered to my door. In it I found the suggestively titled 69 Love Songs by indie pop band the Magnetic Fields. It was sent to me by my long-distance lover, who at the time claimed never-ending love for me. His love wasn’t, of course, never-ending, and after the (from my perspective) devastating break-up, I found, somewhat ironically, comfort in that very same album. ”I could dress in black and read Camus, smoke clove cigarettes and drink Vermouth, like I was 17, that would be a scream, but I don't want to get over you.” Do listen to the whole album, though, if you haven’t. So many little stories about love or the lack of.

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Thu Dec 29 2022
5

detta va favorittalbumet mitt i 2020 hehe

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Thu Dec 29 2022
5

Loved it. Amazing variety and consistently great songs.

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Sun Feb 05 2023
5

Almost defies critique. I’ve docked other albums for sprawling of Lodi g focus, but it works here. It exists entirely within its own set of rules, so if isn’t fair to impose a set of rules onto it in order to review it. I’m going to default to five stars.

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Wed Jun 15 2022
5

The magnum opus of one of my favorite songwriters. I appreciate this album more each time I listen to it. I know the length is controversial, but if you go song by song, almost all of good, and many are outstanding. The diversity of the songs helps with listenability while maintaining a cohesive sound. There are too many favorites to list here, but on this listen I was really into Asleep and Dreaming and You’re My Only Home. I would recommend everyone listen to this album at least twice (doesn’t have to be in one sitting!) Top 15 record for me, maybe top 10.

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Fri Mar 03 2023
5

I've owned this digitally for ages, but that means it's one loooong list of tracks rather than 3 discrete discs, so obviously I've heard disc 1 WAY more than the others. If I was rating disc 1 alone it would be an automatic 5, but I wasn't sure the quality held up over the other discs. I carved out enough time to give the whole thing 2 play throughs, and I reckon discs 2 and 3 hold up well! Love the exploration of styles and genres. Don't like this song? Wait 3 mins and you'll hear something totally different! Fave track - "Absolutely Cuckoo" is an all time fave, "Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits" likewise, but this playthrough "I Shatter" takes the crown!

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Fri Mar 17 2023
5

I listened to the entire album spread over several days and really enjoyed it! A cool project and I like the variety of tunes and voices.

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Thu Apr 13 2023
5

Yes, it's long (that's what she said!), but it's good (she said that also!). I have fallen in love with this album over the past couple years. Each song is pretty special to me. Standouts: just the first 69 songs! Rating: 5/5

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Wed May 03 2023
5

Wow I love it. This is so so much music. It’s a labor of love, an indie magnum opus. There are so many songs, so many good ones, so many mediocre ones too, but still just so much. It’s like the unabridged version of The Little Engine that Could. It just keeps chugging along. Probably 5 classics, 10 great ones, and another dozen that are really enjoyable. I don’t know what to do with this, but I’ve got it on repeat.

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Sat May 06 2023
5

One listen, two people, three sittings. Uncounted harmonizations, laughs. Five stars. All that to say context is important, signposted by the title up front: Fair enough. The conceit is ridiculous, but absolutely carried. Be prepared for a healthy set of cuts with terrible production, switches-of-vocalist that make no sense. But the concept somehow achieves narrative, tenuous as it clearly is.

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Tue May 16 2023
5

Y'know, despite the fact that this is 69 songs long, I never got tired of it. The musical diversity, multiple singers and some completely batshit curveballs really helped keep my attention ("Experiment Music Love" for example). Even the duller moments weren't bad and just inoffensive background music at worst. I think pulling that off takes a lot of talent. Shit, I guess making 3 hours of consistently great music deserves a 5/5... Although I absolutely understand people who give this a 1/5.

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Wed May 17 2023
5

I love this. I loved it when it was released and I love it more now. 69 simple songs full of great wit and wordplay. Fun as background music to just pick up a word scrap that is meaningful. 5 star masterpiece.

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Mon Jun 12 2023
5

Went out for a run, and put this record on. After an hour, I assumed I'm close to the end and start looking at how many tracks left and, to my horror, I realise that 69 Love Songs does mean 69 Love Songs. 3 friggin hours long. But. It's a masterpiece. Every song is clever or witty, funny or pulls on your heart strings - and it's ADHD-inducing in it's eclectic nature. I didn't want it to stop, and by the second listen - i.e. 6 hours in - I was having withdrawals - wasn't sure how any album this week is actually going to stand up to this, while at the same time kicking myself for being so late to this party. It's awesome - worth every minute I dedicated to it and it's nigh on being one of my favourite albums ever.

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Thu Jun 29 2023
5

What a great concept and what a great album! Love the voices, love the diversity, I was never bored and I was often delighted

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Sun Jul 16 2023
5

ukulele, Funny Music Production sounds/samples

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Thu Jul 27 2023
5

4.5 the bangers make this worthy of a 5 but it is simply too long

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Tue Aug 08 2023
5

When I saw the runtime on this I nearly shat a brick. Knowing the proclivities of our ne'er-do-well list maker, I was really dreading this listen through. And then I fucking loved it. It's a mix of Tally Hall and Mountain Goats and Ween and Ben Folds Five. I would have been obsessed with this in high school. This probably actually deserves a 4, but I am giving it a 5 to offset the disappointing number of people who have said "I saw the runtime and just didn't bother" and then gave it 1.

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Thu Aug 17 2023
5

Heard before: yes I guess I can understand the criticism that this is too long. But there's a reason it's "69 Love Songs"; it's epic, it's absurd, it's dirty, it's committed... it's funny! And this is is a hilarious, melodic, sincere love letter to love songs. They are all in here - the broken-hearted sad boy, the cold-hearted heel who can't love, the moon-eyed romantic, the weary cynic, the philosopher, the rake on the prowl... And the changing voices help you meet all the characters along the way. One of my very favorite collections. So if you are in hour three, bitching and moaning about a quick little trifle you are listening to, just remember this: if it were "14 Love Songs", it wouldn't have been such a big deal. And it also wouldn't have made you giggle and shake your head when you first read it. Top tracks: Absolutely Cuckoo, Papa Was A Rodeo, I Don't Want to Get Over You (...Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side, All My Little Words, Busby Berkeley Dreams... I'm breaking my rules)

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Wed Sep 06 2023
5

Lange plaat, maar leuke mix tussen grappig & sad

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Sat Sep 09 2023
5

The soundtrack to when my wife & i started dating.

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Thu Oct 19 2023
5

It took me a month to listen to this album. A lot of songs aren't that good. That being said, the ones that are distinct. It's a cool concept, even when you don't like a song half the interest is figuring out what's going on. There's these squelch-y synths on some tracks that kinda get me. BT - Sweet Lovin' Man - If You Don't Cry - You're My Only Home - My Only Friend - Papa Was a Rodeo - Underwear - It's a Crime - Bitter Tears - I Can't Touch You Anymore

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Wed Nov 01 2023
5

When I first saw this album name, I (with the sometimes-maturity of a 14-year-old boy) chuckled. Clever use of an album name to make a joke, I thought. Then I realized the album was actually 69 songs deep. I really enjoyed it. I think most songs in the world drag on too long. We need to bring the 2-minute songs back! I did not think I’d be rating this a 5-star before I started.

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Sun Nov 26 2023
5

Not an album in the classic sense of the word, *69 Love Songs* is more like a gigantic catalogue of exercices in style, filled with off-kilter left-turns, promising potentialities and incredible moments. It's also a *quote-unquote* "mixed bag". Yet it's fully intended that way, of course. Once you find your path into it, you'll realize that the overall "concept" behind this project actually brings a lot of charm to the whole endeavor, instead of weighing it down. Such tongue-in-cheek "scope" is paradoxically what saves the project from becoming a full-blown parody, as quaint as some of those "exercises in styles" are. A piece of advice, though: you must not go through this triple (?) record in one sitting, but rather explore it through shorter sessions. At first you'll single out the obvious standouts, and dismiss the rest as fillers. But then, a doubt will surge: is that random one-minute tune in a mock-gay disco style *actually* a filler? Or is it a hidden gem--one that you dismissed too early before? In a way, The Magnetic Fields are here flipping the bird at this very app, and also at the book the latter draws inspiration from. In the end, podiums and rankings and "good taste" don't really matter. Because music is a subjective art first and foremost. Which means that *any style* can yield to a potential gem of a song for your very subjective ears. It's the exact reason why Merritt and co. chose the subject of love for the project: because this subject is universal. From that starting point, they can translate said universal subject into 69 different subjective interpretations of it. 69 different ways to be humoured and bothered and thrilled and moved. And this sheer accumulation is not only "conceptually" dizzying. It's also emotionally effective. What's great about this record is its "excess", along with its treasure trove nature. Sometimes you find trinkets in it, sometimes you find jewels. And sometimes trinkets turn into jewels, depending on your current mood. it's rarely the other way around, fortunately. As a result, you can potentially spend hours rediscovering wonders as you listen to this record, again and again--wonders such as "All My Little Words", "Nothing Matters When We're Dancing", "Papa Was A Rodeo", "No One Will Ever Love You", " I Think I Need A New Heart", "My Only Friend", "Underwear", "Grand Canyon" or "The Death Of Ferdinand De Saussure'. Flipping the bird at the 1001 Albums book or not, I'm pretty sure that a lot of people using this app could be ready for such an adventure if only they could let go of their expectations about what an "album" should be and sound like. If you manage to do that, you may realize how nice it is to get lost in this maze, just as all of us are getting lost sorting out the whiff from the chaff through this app, day in, day out. All you need is time, which is not available for everyone, obviously--but then again, if you can find some time for this app, I think it's not a stretch to postulate that you can also find some for this very long album if you feel like it. It also doesn't hurt that Stephin Merritt is such a brilliant songwriter, generally speaking--with a keen ear for details, both lyrical and musical. In the hands of anyone else, this project would have been doomed from the get-go, crushed by its own weight. But the playful undertones and the understated yet lively nature of most of these songs save them from any suspicion of misplaced pretensions. And all of this fully stems from the bizarre character that Merritt is. *69 Love Songs* needed a leading figure who was extravagant, and yet very much "in control" as well. It needed someone who could be either serious or ironical depending on the song--who could go from a cynical tone to a naive one, or from having shallow intents to stances having a certain depth... And to pull it off, it needed a songwriter who had a set of skills that were as formidable as they were understated, once again. Merritt fits those shoes perfectly. Finally, *69 Love Songs* is not an album in the classic sense of the word for another reason: everyone could select one third of its tracklisting and create their own "perfect" subjective version of it--one that would have a "normal" length, instead of the overblown release that it is. Very ironically, no two subjectively "ideal" shorter versions of the project would look alike--even though you can bet your boots that its heart and centerpiece, the sarcastic yet also very touching ballad "The Book Of Love", would be in 99% of the versions thus created. *This*, also, is part of the project's "playful" DNA. One could even dare to say that the album is an "interactive" experience in the best sense of the word. And you don't even need an app or a computer to make it work. All you need is a record player. Under that light, maybe *69 Love Songs* shouldn't even be in such a list, come to think of it. Because it's not *really* an album. It's a recording aimed at suggesting what the *platonic ideal* of an album could be. An album about love, yes. But also an album about life as a whole itself. Number of albums left to review: 366 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 287 (including this one) Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 150 Albums from the list I won't include in mine (many others are more essential to me): 204

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Wed Jan 10 2024
5

Y'all have no idea. Certified classic. "Oh no it's too looong waaah." News flash, this whole activity is too long.

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Wed Jan 24 2024
5

How you keep something this long this engaging is a work of passion and art.

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