Magnetic Fields' New Album Will Be 50 Songs Documenting Stephin Merritt's 50 Years on Earth

Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields performs in Berlin
Frank Hoensch/Redferns via Getty Images

Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields performs live during a concert at the Passionskirche on May 14, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. 

Like Cole Porter or Leonard Cohen, Stephin Merritt is a songwriter whose deft turns of phrase and knack for inventive melodies transcend genre and decade. So far, his masterpiece is the Magnetic Fields' three-disc 69 Love Songs, a hilarious, heartbreaking collection of songs about everything from long-distance love to why being in love is like a chicken with its head cut off.

At least, that's Merritt's magnum opus thus far -- the Magnetic Fields maestro is returning in 2016/2017 with 50 Song Memoir, an album and tour that, like 69 Love Songs, is pretty much what it sounds like -- 50 songs about his life, each tune telling the story of one year.

The new project will debut at the Brooklyn Academy of Music as part of the 2016 Next Wave Festival over the course of two nights. "In a spectacular staging featuring 50 instruments from Merritt’s formidable collection, the seven-member band recounts his five decades on planet Earth, covering everything from bedbugs and Buddhism to his conception by hippies on a houseboat in St. Thomas," reads BAM's site. "The whole album will take place over two nights: songs 1 through 25 on Fri, Dec 2 and songs 26 through 50 on Sat, Dec 3."

The 50 Song Memoir album will come out at the start of 2017 on Nonesuch, with more dates slated for Los Angeles and Seattle.

Brooklyn Academy of Music - Brooklyn, NY
Program A - December 2nd, 2016
Program B - December 3rd, 2016

Royce Hall, UCLA - Los Angeles, CA
Program A - April 27th, 2017
Program B - April 28th, 2017

Moore Theater - Seattle, WA
Program A - May 6th, 2017
Program B - May 7th, 2017


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.