So, I was late to the 69 Love Songs party. I didn’t actually get it until the next year: months after it came out. I think at the time, everything I’d read about The Magnetic Fields indicated to me that I probably wouldn’t like them, even as 69 Love Songs became critically acclaimed. But you can’t hear everything.
So getting it was an accident: it was either a birthday or going-away present from a guy at work. And immediately became obsessed with figuring out what each of the 69 (nice!) songs was on about. Even then, it took me quite some time to hear the epicness of “Papa Was a Rodeo.”