1999 release, the first of three volumes of this ambitious project that includes a total of 69 love songs spread over three volumes (each disc contains 23 tracks). Magnetic Fields are an Indie/Electropop band led by singer/songwriter Stephin Merritt.
From Stephin Merrit's Gay and Loud publishing comes the first volume of the Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs
, a misleadingly quiet epic of a thing. From the layered feedback of "Don't Fall in Love with Me," followed by the plinky strum of his uke through to a Merrittian 23rd psalm, "The Things We Did," this volume, more than the others, hearkens back to the gloriously distorted acoustic agitation visited on The Charm of the Highway Strip
. Ever the sad sack, Merritt's characters "don't believe in the sun" and drolly proclaim themselves "ugly" and the stars so "fucking romantic." Dishing up clichés like ice cream cones at a Baskin-Robbins, Merritt's lyrics take on self-involved weightiness in the context of his over-the-top conventions. Marrying electronic elements with banjo, cello, mandolin, piano, accordian, and percussion, these little numbers--sung by a revolving cast of Merritt and cohorts--riff on everything from punk rock to madrigals to Jim Reeves and Johnny Cash-style balladry, coming across as preposterously vaudevillian and Brechtian, rather than vacuous. --Paige La Grone