The Magnetic Fields To Release 50 New Songs, Hear Five Tracks Now : All Songs Considered Magnetic Fields frontman Stephin Merritt says the new album, 50 Song Memoir, is largely autobiographical. He began recording on his 50th birthday, with a single song about every year of his life.
NPR logo The Magnetic Fields To Release 50 New Songs, Hear Five Tracks Now

The Magnetic Fields To Release 50 New Songs, Hear Five Tracks Now

Magnetic Fields frontman and lyricist Stephin Merritt Marcelo Krasilcic hide caption

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Marcelo Krasilcic

It'd be hard to get your head around Magnetic Fields' latest release, if the band didn't already have a reputation for artfully ambitious projects. The band's new album, due out March 3, is 50 tracks long and features frontman Stephin Merritt playing more than 100 instruments. The five-disc album is called, appropriately enough, 50 Song Memoir.

The Magnetic Fields' latest album, 50 Song Memoir, is due out Mar. 3. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Merritt, an inimitable lyricist perhaps best known for writing 69 Love Songs, says he started recording the largely autobiographical work on his 50th birthday last year, with a single song about each year of his life.

The tracks are "a mix of autobiography (bedbugs, Buddhism, buggery) and documentary (hippies, Hollywood, hyperacusis)," Merritt says in the album's liner notes. "I am the least autobiographical person you are likely to meet. I will probably not write any more true songs after this than I did before, but it's been interesting working on it."

Five of the songs - one from each decade of Merritt's life - are available to hear now with the lyric videos below.

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YouTube

The Magnetic Fields, 50 Song Memoir tracklist:

Disc 1
'66 Wonder Where I'm From
'67 Come Back as a Cockroach
'68 A Cat Called Dionysus
'69 Judy Garland
'70 They're Killing Children Over There
'71 I Think I'll Make Another World
'72 Eye Contact
'73 It Could Have Been Paradise
'74 No
'75 My Mama Ain't

Disc 2
'76 Hustle 76
'77 Life Ain't All Bad
'78 The Blizzard of '78
'79 Rock'n'Roll Will Ruin Your Life
'80 London by Jetpack
'81 How to Play the Synthesizer
'82 Happy Beeping
'83 Foxx and I
'84 Danceteria!
'85 Why I Am Not a Teenager

Disc 3
'86 How I Failed Ethics
'87 At the Pyramid
'88 Ethan Frome
'89 The 1989 Musical Marching Zoo
'90 Dreaming in Tetris
'91 The Day I Finally...
'92 Weird Diseases
'93 Me and Fred and Dave and Ted
'94 Haven't Got a Penny
'95 A Serious Mistake

Disc 4
'96 I'm Sad!
'97 Eurodisco Trio
'98 Lovers' Lies
'99 Fathers in the Clouds
'00 Ghosts of the Marathon Dancers
'01 Have You Seen It in the Snow?
'02 Be True to Your Bar
'03 The Ex and I
'04 Cold-Blooded Man
'05 Never Again

Disc 5
'06 "Quotes"
'07 In the Snow White Cottages
'08 Surfin'
'09 Till You Come Back to Me
'10 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
'11 Stupid Tears
'12 You Can Never Go Back to New York
'13 Big Enough for Both of Us
'14 I Wish I Had Pictures
'15 Somebody's Fetish