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Magnetic Fields’ Quickies offers one-minute wonders 

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Stephin Merritt has structured almost every Magnetic Fields album along a theme, some more successful than others. 1999’s three-hour 69 Love Songs remains one of the finest, most coherent pop music efforts by any artist, while 2017’s 50-Song Memoir was a lackluster exercise in excess. The band’s new Quickies (Nonesuch) is a suite of 28 brief sketches good enough to be considered a Cliffs Notes version of 69 Love Songs. The tracks’ sparkling, raunchy hilarity comes largely from occasional Merritt collaborator Claudia Gonson.

The concept of an album of quick ones is hardly new. In 1980, The Residents released Commercial Album, featuring 40 one-minute songs, and tracks from last year’s Guided by Voices release, Warp and Woof, are almost all under two minutes. Merritt is less exacting — some Quickies numbers run close to three minutes, though many are only 30 seconds. What’s important are the love and laughter in each track, particularly those where Gonson is the lead singer, like “My Stupid Boyfriend” and “The Biggest Tits in History.”

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