Editor’s Note: The Albumism staff has selected what we believe to be 50 Essential Albums by LGBTQ Artists, representing a varied cross-section of genres, styles and time periods. Considering that the qualifier “LGBTQ” can often be open to various interpretations, for the purposes of this particular list, we have defined an artist as LGBTQ if he, she or they have ever publicly identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer. Moreover, albums by groups have been included in the list if any of their members fit the aforementioned criteria, even if some members do not.
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THE MAGNETIC FIELDS | 69 Love Songs
Selected by Rayna Khaitan
A born indie classic, 69 Love Songs is the poetic masterwork of New York musician Stephin Merritt. As much an homage to the craft of songwriting as it is a chronicle of romance, the 69 compositions roll along three discs, encompassing a variety of genres and casting different moods. Each song is its own story, illuminating a sliver of Merritt’s rich literary world.
Slung in dry wit, dark humor and daytime drinking, the lyrics seep across cities, conjuring all manner of emotion for me. One track, in particular, is almost too much to bear. After four magical years in NYC, I moved back to San Francisco and still sometimes wonder if I did the right thing. Whenever I hear, “Come back from San Francisco / It can't be all that pretty / When all of New York City misses you,” I melt. I guess it’s just what any capable love song can make you do.