Originally Written and Posted at Epinions.com on 2/14/06
The 27-second opening track Roses arrives to open the 2nd volume of the 3-part 69 Love Songs collection by the Magnetic Fields as the vocals of guest collaborator LD Beghtol arrives with his ethereal vocals to Fields' leader Stephin Merritt's quirky, strange lyrics about millionaires. Next is Love Is Like Jazz sung by Merritt in this strange, jazz-inspired track filled with rhythms and Daniel Handler's offbeat, accordion melody. Merritt's lyrics are far more idiosyncratic as he sings in his baritone-like vocals as he plays a jazz-like bass line with Claudia Gonson's abstract percussion with references to Strange Fruit and other jazz-filled love lyrics. When My Boy Walks Down The Street is a mid-tempo, Velvet Underground-inspired track with washy, droning guitar riffs and echo, reverb drums from Gonson as Merritt and Woo wail on the guitars to Merritt's more high-pitch vocals as he sings about a boy he loves as this song is one of the few detours to rock.
Time Enough For Rocking When We're Old is a nice, little acoustic number with arpeggios with Merritt's baritone with his innocent, descriptive lyrics of old love and ageism that is filled with catchy lyrics in its imagery. Very Funny is an amazing piano ballad arranged by Gonson who leads on piano to Dudley Klute's ethereal, soulful vocals that is sung well to Merritt's sad, longing lyrics that speaks love to its truest form. Grand Canyon is a strange mix of electronic textures and acoustic arrangements in Merritt's ode to love with his imaginative lyrics referencing to Paul Bunyan with melodic, synthesizer textures playing in the background. No One Will Ever Love You is an R&B-inspired track with its smooth rhythms and reverb guitar melodies sung by guest vocalist Shirley Simms whose enchanting vocals are wonderfully sung to Merritt's lyrics of desperation and longing.
If You Don't Cry is a bouncy, melodic synth-pop track sung by Claudia Gonson's robotic yet dreamy vocals as she sings to Merritt's spacey vocals that are filled with the disappointments of love as she sings the chorus, "An hour goes by, she doesn't/If you don't cry, it isn't love/If you don't cry, then you just don't feel it deep enough". You're My Only Home is another synth-driven track led by droning synthesizer melodies and Merritt's baritone vocals as he sings more desperate lyrics of love and the flaws of one person. (Crazy For You But) Not That Crazy is another synth-driven track led by an electric bass from Merritt and Woo’s melodic guitar as Merritt retreats to the innocence of love as the song yields back to straight-ahead melodic rock with touches of synth-pop. My Only Friend is a short, two-minute track led by speedy piano melodies and electronic backgrounds as Merritt sings his sad lyrics of love as he calls for Lady Day as the song reaches to the depth of pain.
The pain reaches a higher level with the synth-driven Promises Of Eternity with arrangements by guest collaborator Chris Ewen as Merritt sings the song with his desperate, powerful baritone in an angst that isn't heard in many pop songs. Merritt's lyrics are filled with great imagination as he even pulls our references to some movies ranging from Fellini to Blake Edwards. World Love returns to more vibrant rhythms in its acoustic setting of guitars and percussions with Merritt's description of a world tour of love as if this song was a less idealistic but more realistic cousin of songs that says love makes the world go round. Washington D.C. is lovely melodic-rock pop tune with an opening cheer of "W, ASH, ING, TON baby, D.C" as Gonson bangs on the drums and sings the song with her dreamy vocals for the innocence of falling in love in the nation’s capital. Long-Forgotten Fairytale is another melodic-driven synth-pop track filled with descriptive innocence of love with bouncy, whip-hitting beats and melodic riffs to Dudley Klute's robotic, droning vocals as he sings of Merritt's child-like lyrics that is like a fairytale. This song is perfect to listen to if anyone is in a roller-rink on a fast circle thanks to its robotic, bouncy melodies.
Kiss Me Like You Mean It is a short, acoustic song sung by Shirley Simms that is an ode to old, country ballads in its lyrics and Simms' vocals as Merritt plays a ukelele. Papa Was A Rodeo is another country-inspired song of sorts in its tone with its slow, dreamy guitar melodies and bass lines as Merritt sings many of the song's verses. The song is sung from a guy to a guy as it could be a lost song for Brokeback Mountain with the final verse sung by Shirley Simms as this song is a nice take on country in its unique way. Epitaph For My Heart starts off with a dreamy section of caution through high-pitch vocals as it segues to a more straightforward, washy pop tune of guitars and drums with Merritt going into his usual baritone with his melancholic lyrics of love. Asleep And Dreaming is an accordion-driven track performed mostly by Daniel Handler’s whose dreamy arrangements lead the way for Merritt's melancholic lyrics and vocal delivery.
The Sun Goes Down And The World Goes Dancing is a return to more basic instruments with its mid-tempo percussions and John Woo's banjo playing with the background of shimmering synthesizer melodies. Merritt reaches now to the song's more upbeat tone of love with his innocent lyrics as he goes out and have fun. The Way You Say Good-Night is led by Sam Davol's menacing cello playing as he accompanies Beghtol's ethereal vocals as he sings more of Merritt's descriptive lyrics of love that features great lyrics like "The stars begin their Busby Berkeley dance: 'The Way You Say Good-Night' and the night becomes... a musical extravaganza" as song leads the way in its eerie, hypnotic cello playing. Abigail, Belle Of Kilronan is a wonderful acoustic track as Merritt plays the straight man to this song about a woman named Abigail in this folk-inspired tune with wonderful lyrics about the woman and where she’s from. I Shatter closes the 2nd volume of 69 Love Songs with Merritt's distorted, robotic vocals as he is accompanied by scratchy violin tracks performed by Sam Davol as he sings about love's fragility.
The Magnetic Fields Reviews: (Distant Plastic Trees) - (The Wayward Bus) - (The House of Tomorrow EP) - (Holiday) - (The Charm of the Highway Strip) - (Get Lost) - 69 Love Songs: Vol. 1 - Vol. 3 - (i) - (Distortion) - (Realism)
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