The Magnetic Fields is one of several guises that the artist Stephin Merritt records under. His last work with this 'group' was descriptively and accurately titled "69 Love Songs". We didn't buy it, although it was critically hailed, because, frankly, the sheer (and symbolic) number of numbers scared us off. Merritt gets cute with his cd's moniker once again (every song title begins with the letter of the album's title), but, at least, there are only 14 tracks this time. The majority of them are highly melodic, engaging, mostly melancholy ditties sung by Merritt (on other albums he frequently employs singers) in his arch and intimate manner. Merritt is blatantly gay, self-deprecating, and witty. His songs abound with clever and freshly blazoned lyrics (eg. "So you quote love unquote me/ Well, stranger things have come to be" and "Feels like December but it's May/ I've gone as pale as Doris Day") that ring with humor and truth. Although occasionally upbeat (even disco), most are the oddball torch songs of a contemporary and eccentric stylistic descendant of Cole Porter. The production is deft, spare and organic. Among the list of atypical rock instruments (banjo, harpsichord, cello, sitar) in the credits is the disclaimer "no synths". This album is not recommended for the macho boys among us. However we would strongly suggest it to those who enjoy a little quirk in their work.