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69 Love Songs (33⅓ #69)

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3.34 of 5 stars 3.34  ·  rating details  ·  191 ratings  ·  25 reviews
A fully illustrated oral history of the Magnetic Fields' 1999 triple album, 69 Love Songs - an album that was afforded "classic" status by many almost as soon as it was released. LD Beghtol's book is chatty, incestuous, funny, dark, digressive, sexy, maddening, and delightful in equal measures. It documents a vital and influential scene from the inside, involving ukuleles ...more
Paperback, 157 pages
Published November 3rd 2006 by Continuum
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33⅓
61st out of 113 books — 41 voters


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Mariel
Oct 19, 2012 Mariel rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: I pretended you were Jesus. You were just dying to save me
Recommended to Mariel by: I stood beneath your window with my ukelele
The book of love is long and boring
No one can lift the damn thing
It's full of charts and facts and figures
And instructions for dancing
But I, I love it when you read to me
And you, you can read me anything
- The Magnetic Fields 'The Book of Love'

The Magnetic Fields are one of my favorite bands in the whole world. I haven't heard every band in the whole world. I'll never hear every band in the whole world. I've wished since I was pretty darned young that my favorites would find ME. I had a whole se
...more
Donna
Everyone should try listening to The Magnetic Fields, but this book about their 3-CD album is a disappointment.

I first heard them in the mid-90s, they were opening for some growly alternative act that I wasn't really interested in, so I'm not exactly sure why I was even at that show. We left after about three songs from the headliner, but my roommate and I went out and bought a couple of Magnetic Fields CDs the next day. They've been one of my favorite bands ever since.

I was hoping that this lit
...more
Susie
Probably should only be read by people who have listened to this record so much that they know every nuance and lyric by heart. I am one of those people. The intro (encyclopedia of terms used on the record) is funny at first and then becomes really exhausting to read. I love the song-by-song anecdote section of the book, although I hate the author's commentaries most. I feel like everything LD Beghtol has to say about the songs he sings on 69LS is so completely & disgustingly self-congratula ...more
Hans
This is really a book for 69 Love Songs completists. I fall into this group since I have:
--purchased the box set
--given the box set as a gift (at least once)
--have made the requisite mix-cds & playlists
--gone to multiple TMF concerts, including a 69 Love Songs era show at the Black Cat in DC ("Washington, DC" received the hearty home town reception) and sat in amazing unused press seats for the two-night 69 Love Songs show at Lincoln Center.

Here's the rub: The first half is a dictionary. A h
...more
Evan
The novelist Flannery O'Connor believed that most people write what they can, rather than merely what they know. Here, I've tried a bit of both. If to some folks it all seems too close to the "erased de Kooning" bone for their comfort, that's their pathology.

A cliché is a trite or overused expression, the lack of which would make conversation difficult and pop music impossible. The most familiar of these---such as "I love you"---are precious enough to be kept in vaults [1.14], from which they ar
...more
Mark
Having been let down by homeopathic remedies such as Valerian Root and Melatonin, I can, and will, recommend the first half of this book to anyone who suffers from insomnia. It's not even so much poorly worded as it is poorly edited and executed. Worse yet, and most insulting towards the reader, is that it is nowhere near as witty or clever as it fancies itself being.

The second half of the book is far more readable and entertaining for fans of this trio of albums, though nowhere near enough to r
...more
Eric Skillman
Sep 18, 2007 Eric Skillman rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who, like Nino Rota, know the score
Enjoyed the Double Nickels book so much I immediately picked up a few more. This is a very different animal, as it's written by one of the singers on the album, L.D. Beightol. For all Stephin Merritt's "boy genius" "one man show" reputation, this book paints a great portrait of an album created by a community of friends, who all seem to be as brilliant and ascerbic and funny and sweet as the album itself. Skip past the overlong and not-quite-as-clever-as-it-wants-to-be "lexicon" (which is inexpl ...more
Samantha
I know its become almost a cliche to say that this album changed my life, but it really and truly did. This book, which is just as humorous, clever and heartfelt as the album it discusses, was a wonderful supplement to the incredible music of The Magnetic Fields. If you too ever seduced someone with the 69 Love Songs album, read this, you won't regret it!
Niklas Pivic
Nov 04, 2011 Niklas Pivic rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of The Magnetic Fields
This book makes me thing of three things:

1. LD Beghtol is extremely pretentious, which isn't always a bad thing
2. This book could have used a strong editor
3. It contained a lot of nerdy Mag Fields facts

Now I know that Stephin Merritt instructed the rest of the band that "It's A Crime" was recorded with the phrase "Swedish reggae" constantly in mind, and that there's a staggering number of statistics web-sites available solely built because some listeners of "69 Love Songs" were...a little too in
...more
Eric
Apr 27, 2015 Eric rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2015
A perfect companion for the ambitious album. Instead of giving a simple history of the making/impact of 69LS, LD Beghtol--occasional performer on the album--gives an annotated rundown of the masterpiece. This includes a dictionary as the words relate to particular songs and a track listing that includes both the technical aspects and a short oral history with each track. With these tidbits the reader pieces together the history and unlocks the mystery of 69LS. I listened along as I read about ea ...more
Eliza
The only thing I don't like about this book is the format. There's a "dictionary" in the front and then he goes through all three CDs song-by-song. I think he should have left the dictionary out. All of that information could have been included with the corresponding song descriptions, and it would have been a lot easier to read. But the book did keep me very entertained on my Amtrak ride back into the city today... I listened to the entire album and followed along in the book, discovering thing ...more
g
The first of a series of 33 1/3 books I plan to read (thanks, work), I wholeheartedly enjoyed this. What was especially fun was listening along while reading the annotations.

While LD's writing can be a bit haughty from time to time, the tone meshes well with the record(s), which can also be a bit haughty from time to time. And those of us who love the Fields know that this is one of the primary reason TO love them. Long live the combination of the universal and the obscure!
Katherine
I think there's room for many different approaches in the 33 1/3 series, but I'm skittish of books being written by people directly involved with the album in question, like this one. It's fun to have SOME insider information, like the part giving a rundown of all 69 songs, but to have a whole book written that way? Some of it's just too silly for me (the "20 questions for Stephin Merritt" chapter), but I mostly enjoyed this, and hope to do the crossword puzzle someday.
Greg
The "oral history" part of the book is light reading but interesting--however, the first half of the book is a pseudo-dictionary of the various terms used in The Magnetic Fields' masterpiece, and it's a slog. There must have been a better way to tackle these incredible songs. Maybe Jonathan Lethem isn't busy right now--?
Nathan
Dec 23, 2007 Nathan rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Chickens With Their Heads Cut Off
Shelves: 33-1-3-series
This was not what I expected. Previous books in this series gave greater insight into some of my favorite albums, but this one provided very little. I could have done without the redundant dictionary, although I did like a little bit of members only commentary for each song. I expected more.
reed
Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs is some of my favorite music, but Stephin Merritt and the rest of the Magnetic Fields seem terribly full of themselves. Don't bother to read this book unless you are an obsessive fan.
Terri Kempton
I'm a huge Magnetic Fields nerd, but I'd save yourself the pretentious talk and in-jokes. What I learned from reading the field guide: these three great albums are self explanatory.
Liz
Nov 06, 2008 Liz marked it as to-read
Shelves: non-fiction, music
I saw the Magnetic Fields in Raleigh a few weeks ago, and they were fantastic! And I love how small these books are...
CleverGirl
so zany, it made me dizzy. love the album, can't read the damn book straight thru. cool as a reference, though.
Ruth
Rather annoying, very informative, and a touch charming. A must for the Magnetic Fields completist.
Dave Reidy
A disappointment. The book's organization scheme foiled my attempts to read it.
María
Pretencioso, mal hecho y fome. Exactamente lo opuesto de lo que es el disco.
Rich
Feh...I was unimpressed. More like an urban dictionary than a readable book.
Margaret
Jun 04, 2007 Margaret rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: stephen merrit fanatics
interesting & informative but a bit too fawning.
Michellette
Disappointing.
Jameshochberger
Jameshochberger marked it as to-read
May 18, 2015
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Amy marked it as to-read
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