So… what are you listening to?

The Magnetic Fields came out with a concept album called 69 Love Songs a decade or so ago. Now, of course, they’re not songs about love as much as songs about being in love which means that whether they tend toward chronic unhappiness or haunting melancholy or mania that everybody but the person experiencing it knows will end any second now, they all have a bit of undercurrent of “that ain’t healthy” going on.

Maribou told me about this one, which she says has the writer bemused about how people are playing it at weddings.

Anyway, it’s one of our favorite songs and there was a period where I would write my own lyrics to it. Most of the lyrics were attempts to describe what was going on at that particular moment in time (“And I… am in the drive-thru at Carl’s Junior and you… are ordering a hamburger”). This went on for much of the day. When we got to the Last Chore Before We Could Finally Go Home, I happened to park in a parking lot where we got number 37. I sang “And I… parked in number thirty-seven and you…” and I couldn’t come up with anything and don’t remember what the next verse was (but I know it ended with “sixty-leven”) and apologized to Maribou saying “okay, that one wasn’t very good” and she just lost it. She cracked up. When I asked why, she pointed out through her sputters that all of them were about that bad.

When we got home, I composed this one for her:

The book of love has poems in it

Most of them aren’t understood

Those that are left are either shallow

Or trite or just not very good.

And I… I think that you are really swell and you… you think my poems are doggerel.

She looked at me for a moment and said “okay, that one was pretty good.”

I hope this song gets stuck in your head for a week or so.


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to


  1. Why have I never heard of Magnetic Fields before? What joy, to find a fresh field of music to plow. After years of turning my friends on to Richard Thompson, this comes as a welcome surprise. Many thanks.

      • There’s a lot to discover- heck, 69 Love songs was just one MF release! Then you have all his side projects (The 6ths, Gothic Archies, Future Bible Heroes, etc.). Stephin Merritt is my second-favorite hyper-prolific multiply-guised American songwriter (slightly after Robert Pollard).

  2. You and Maribou are just too damn cute sometimes.

    I picked up what I guess is the brand spankin’ new Death Cab for Cutie album on the Amazon $5.00 album sale for June. And it’s playing now. And I think I like it, but I’m like 4 minutes in.

  3. Mainly Florence + the Machine and Adele when I’m in the mood for something new, Fiona Apple’s “Extraordinary Machine” when I’m in the mood for something newish but familiar, and mainly old Erasure and Pet Shop Boys CDs when I’m in the mood to sing along like a lunatic on my commute home.

    • I’ve been thinking that Erasure needs to come out with a new album pretty darn soon.

      I don’t care if it’s nothing but ABBA covers.

  4. A friend pointed me to a British band called Yuck, which feeds into my desire to pretend we never moved past the late 1990s.

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