It’s been too long since we’ve gotten an odd, provocative concept album from The Magnetic Fields. They’re remedying that now: in honor of frontman Stephin Merritt’s 50th birthday, the band will release a giant five-disc project called 50 Song Memoir.
Merritt doesn’t normally write autobiographical lyrics, but this record will include a song about each of his years alive. “There’s a lot more vulnerability than I’m used to,” he told The Boston Globe. The tracks may be more personal than usual, but the the five the band just shared—“’74 No,” “’86 How I Failed Ethics,” “’93 Me And Fred And Dave And Ted,” “’02 Be True To Your Bar” and “’13 Big Enough For Both Of Us”—still contain Merritt’s signature brand of humor. “’74 No,” written from his perspective as a cynical child, is particularly hilarious.
The Magnetic Fields will premiere the album this weekend at Massachusetts’ Museum of Contemporary Art in a two-night concert featuring an expanded band, costumes and film projections. They’ll take the show to Brooklyn in early December and on tour around the country next spring.
The studio version of 50 Song Memoir will come out on March 3, 2017. Check out tour dates below, and beneath that, find the lyric videos for the first five songs from the project.
The Magnetic Fields 50 Song Memoir Tour Dates:
2-3 – Brooklyn, N.Y. @ Brooklyn Academy Of Music
15-16 – Philadelphia, Pa. @ Union Transfer
19-20 – Washington, D.C. @ Lincoln Theatre
21-22 – Durham, N.C. @ Carolina Theatre
24-25 – Knoxville, Tenn. @ Big Ears Festival
27-28 – Atlanta, Ga. @ Variety Playhouse
14-15 – Boston, Mass. @ Berklee Performance Center
19-20 – Chicago, Ill. @ Thalia Hall
22-23 – Minneapolis, Minn. @ Fitzgerald Theatre
27-28 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Royce Hall
30 – Oakland, Calif. @ Fox Theatre (part one)
1 – Oakland, Calif. @ Fox Theatre (part two)
3-4 – Portland, Ore. @ Revolution Hall
6-7 – Seattle, Wash. @ The Moore Theatre