Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields catalogues a life in verse with 50 songs, each dedicated to one of his years on earth – tonight taking us from his 25th birthday to age 50.
With black humour and disarming frankness, Merritt guides us on a chronological journey through his life. From his birth, via enforced beatnik Buddhist retreats, to stumbling back from glamorous excess of 80s New York discos – his deep, affectingly deadpan bass tells a personal history through understatedly theatrical Pop miniatures.
It’s not Merritt’s first time undertaking such a gargantuan and unique project. His writing for The Magnetic Fields often has a conceptual structure and focus – their breakthrough record 69 Love Songs was, as the name suggests, a collection of 69 love songs, while 2004’s i contained songs whose titles each began with the letter ‘I’. Tonight’s project presents the live rendition of 50 Song Memoir, a five-disc chronicle of the songwriter’s first 50 years on earth.