Thursday, 13 February 2003

Album Review: 69 Love Songs

New York songwriter Stephin Merritt set out to record a collection of a hundred love songs. The title of the LP gives away that a snug and not without sexual overtone sixty-nine made the final release making this one of the most ambitious LPs of recent years.

Playing spot the reference, Johnny Cash, The Carter Family, Nick Cave, Cole Porter, The Beach Boys, The Velvet Underground and Phil Spector all appear to have been paid tribute on this 3 hour collection. By no means is that list exhaustive either, Merritt and his chums are not shy to prove which artists inspired them to record this opus.

Gloomy piano-waltz I Don’t Believe In The Sun is worthy of Nick Cave and is one of the stand out tracks. Elsewhere, Sweet Lovin Man would be a major hit for a more commercial artist. Claudia Gonson’s vocals are near perfect on most of the tracks she sings on, but Washington D.C. has her in particularly fine fettle.

A few tracks are incredibly bad, but these songs are few. Let’s Pretend We’re Bunny Rabbits is god-awful synth pop and I Shatter is sub-Butthole Surfers nonsense. There aren’t many others, but unfortunately Merritt has included a few too many gimmick tracks to the LP to make it a timeless classic.

As Valentines Day approaches it is a total injustice that more people will be receiving compilations along the lines of Greatest Love Songs In The World Ever 10 rather than this.

There are songs on this album that could change people’s worlds. If only they could hear them.

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