Obscurities features 14 tracks in all, including five previously unreleased songs, all recorded prior to The Magnetic Fields’ seminal album 69 Love Songs. Three of the unreleased tracks hail from The Song From Venus, the unfinished science fiction musical written by Merritt and Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snickett.
Also included on the record are five songs culled from various 7” vinyl singles by The Magnetic Fields, along with one from Merritt's guest vocalist-laden side project the 6ths, one from an audio book, one from the Oh, Merge compilation CD, and a track from a rare K Records cassette-only release.
Among the tracks on Obscurities is The Song From Venus’ “Forever and a Day,” a solo-acoustic ukelele-based love song reminiscent of 69 Love Songs’ “The Book of Love.” Also included on Obscurities is “The Sun and the Sea and the Sky,” a previously unreleased 69 Love Songs outtake. “This song didn’t go on 69 Love Songs because it wasn’t actually about romantic love,” Merritt points out. The album concludes with “You Are Not My Mother and I Want to Go Home,” which was originally composed by Merritt for the audio book version of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.
The Los Angeles Times hails Merritt as “one of indie-rock’s most acclaimed figures” while Pitchfork calls him “smart, thorough, and unerringly precise.”