in CAT

C.A.T.: 69 Love Songs

The Magnetic Fields – 69 Love Songs (1999)

Figured I might as well do this album for a CAT considering it’s been taking up a big chunk of the music I’ve been listening to lately. So move over All Things Must Pass, you’re no longer the lone triple album that’s been inducted into the hallowed halls of CAT

Basically this album is exactly what it proclaims itself to be: 69 love songs spread out over three volumes, clocking in just short of three hours. Now you’d think such a long album would be fairly daunting, but the songs on here really aren’t that hard to get into, and take on a familiar quality after just a few listens. I’d have to say this is indebted to The Magnetic Fields’ lead singer/songwriter Stephen Merritt, whose ear for indelible melodies is second to none.
Merritt has said that he conceived 69 Love Songs as “not an album about love, but an album about love songs, which are very far from anything to do with love.” And that sums up the nature of the album pretty well, as Merritt explores a whole slew of different genres, while there’s an overarching interest in the idea of the love song in American culture. The lyrics often display plenty of irony or surreal humor, sometimes to an overly cheeky extent. But even considering the playful insincerity apparent throughout the album, it’s hard to not fall in love with a lot of these songs.
It’s kind of hard to really pick out any stand-out tracks in the massive sea of music that is 69 Love Songs, but I definitely have an affinity for the more bare-bones acoustic numbers like “Book Of Love” or “I Think I Need A New Heart”. Really, this is about as solid a mass of music as you could ask for in a triple album, and I’m sure I’ll keep listening to 69 Love Songs in the weeks to come as I keep discovering all the charming little moments on it.
Favorite Tracks: “Book Of Love”, “I Think I Need A New Heart”, “Papa Was A Rodeo”