Thursday, May 21, 2009

5 of 69: Have I annoyed you or is there a boy who well he's just a whore

"Reno Dakota"

I suppose this short, playful (I wouldn't exactly call it disposable) song is a chance to explain how I came upon the 69LS in general.

As the last entry suggests, I'm a sucker for lists. And I simply LOVE year's end 'best of' lists. Back in 1999 I was a junior at Syracuse University. There is (I hope this shouldn't be modified to 'was') a great record store downtown called, perhaps somewhat unfortunately, Soundgarden. It was the record store that sold me my first Les Savy Fav EP, my first White Stripes album, my first Le Tigre, Fugazi and inevitably, Magnetic Fields CD. The kind of record store that has a scruffy mongrel dog that kicks around your feet as your fingers clickety clack through the bins of used CD jewel cases. The kind of record store that gives birth to hipsters such as myself en masse.

As 1999 dovetailed into 2000, I flipped through SPIN magazine's year end best albums article. This was right around the time SPIN was very tough on music, had become the slightly pale and freckled Rolling Stone of its time (while Rolling Stone no longer had any sort of critical acumen toward music, e.g. putting the backstreet Boys on the cover and celebrated Kid Rock as a musical savant). A few years later someone must have realized that this wasn't a very good business model, and SPIN caught up with Rolling Stone once more, only the crappy contemporary era version of RS, (you know, sans the meaty political journalism) that it has never been able to shake. Of course I'm being way too hard on SPIN (why oh why did you play fast and loose with my heart?), but only because I've since fallen for magazines like Magnet and (RIP) Punk Planet.

SPIN's 1999 best album list had some serious chops, with names like the Flaming Lips (at their peak IMO, with Soft Bulletin), Beck (with his insanely catchy party album Midnight Vultures), Mary J Blige, Rage Against the Machine, Wilco, Built to Spill, Ol' Dirty Bastard and at number 4, the Magnetic Fields 69 Love Songs. The latter entry struck me as just the sort of over-ambitious magnum opus I might like (I really like excessive trainwrecks, especially films, like A.I. and the Fountain), and when I had a chance the following June, while restoring the empty coffers of my paltry bank account with shitty Summer jobs, I picked up the first volume.

And the thing is, I really didn't get into it. I liked it, but certainly didn't appreciate it. I listened to it a bunch of times before it slept and gathered dust on my CD tower for several years. It wasn't until I picked up a used copy of Volume 2 (just filling out my collection really) that I fell in love with the Magnetic Fields. That is the CD that captured my heart and urged me to buy V3 a mere week later, but wouldn't even allow me the sonic space to listen to that later purchase, or go back to V1 for that matter. To this day I've probably listened to the series in this kind of ratio 5 : 9 : 2. And the first 23 songs only so much because I've owned it nearly twice as long as the rest.

Alright, I suppose this narcissistic music history lesson must end. Short story made shorter, 69LS is a grower of the best sort. As I descend into the depths of adulthood (to say nothing of middle-age) I find that I can finally appreciate work of this caliber. Because I'm wiser? Probably not. Mostly, I would guess, because it is fucking awesome.

grade: "puppy love" (2 out of 6)

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At 6:01 PM , Blogger oline said...

that, my friend, was fucking awesome.


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