69 Love Songs is literally just that, an hours-long celebration of affection, rejection and all the joy and heartbreak in between, presented though, you guessed it, 69 songs. If that sounds like an arbitrary number, well, it isn't. The performance is a start-to-finish recreation of The Magnetic Fields' iconic, three-disc album of the same name. And if 69 love songs sounds like way too many, keep in mind: most of the tracks clock in at less than three minutes.
For those unfamiliar with the recording, 69 Love Songs is a stylistic mish-mash — founded in The Magnetic Fields' trademark brand of subdued synth-pop — that veers into uke-centered folk, electronic dance music, acoustic ballads and even some gentle chamber pop. Tonight's performance is likely to push the boundaries of cohesion even further, with an eclectic mix of local performers — including Kovacs and the Polar Bear, Electric Owls, Pilgrim and Holiday Childress — coloring swaths of the album with their own disparate flavors. [Full disclosure: Xpress staffer Jaye Bartell performs in Pilgrim.]
This marks The Grey Eagle's second incarnation of the concept, produced by Chall Gray, owner/operator of The Magnetic Field Cafe and Bar (not to be confused with the band). The inaugural event sold out The Grey Eagle in 2010, and tonight's show is likely to do the same. So pin that heart to your sleeve and head to The Grey Eagle early for a celebration of love or loss; with 69 offerings, there's sure to be plenty of both.
A demo of "Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits" by Pilgrim: