Brevity has often been the soul of Magnetic Fields composer Stephin Merritt’s wit. Though his most celebrated work—the 1999 milestone 69 Love Songs, the more recent 50 Song Memoir—has been epic in conceptual scope, the individual pieces of each have most often been beautifully crafted, slyly funny miniatures. The Magnetic Fields most recent album, Quickies, presents his most consistently miniscule miniatures of all, with the longest track, a reimagining of a Shaker hymn called “Come, Life, Shaker Life,” clocking in at 2:35 and the shortest, the no-minced-words “Death Pact (Let’s Make A)”, at seventeen breezy seconds.

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