In 1999 'The Magnetic Fields', an indie band from Boston, Massachusetts, released '69 love songs', literally three volumes of music that consists of 69 love songs, after the guy who started the concept decided that his original idea of writing 100 was just too many. Number 12 on Volume 1 is called 'The Book of Love'...it's at 27:27 on the following video. The lyrics are what grab my attention, they're everyday lyrics...would Disney describe the "book" of love to be boring? And then there's the singer's voice, the writer of the song Stephen Merritt. He has the voice of someone you'd never in a thousand years recommend began a singing career but he's obviously become successful by doing so...
Fast forward to 2004 and Peter Gabriel sings a cover of this song for the soundtrack of the film Shall we dance? Peter Gabriel's version has a more "commercial" sound, with a full orchestra. Here is a 2012 performance:
In 2012, the same year as the video above, the writer of the song, Stephen Merritt, records this. Ukulele and that strange, not completely tuned, voice. It's raw, hauntingly enticing, he's singing for real. This is raw, like crunching vegetables fresh from the allotment.
And so...we come to today and my discovery of the two guys and their cellos. The chaps, called 2CELLOS, have played with Elton John's band, and already have a pretty big following, like HUGE. For their second album, in2ition, the two Crotian chaps asked the Italian singer Zucchero, who's also a busy man having collaborated with many artists in his time, to record an Italian version of the same song and I think this is amazing. Music, when it's "real" and "raw", created just because you decide to try and write 100 (69) love songs, is simple, and heart-achingly so. It's difficult to lose the beauty of simplicity when it's been captured.
I like simple things that have been created from complexity. Take a fish finger for example. I had them for dinner yesterday. All I had to do was turn on the oven and put the fish fingers in the oven for a set amount of time. If I had to make fish fingers from scratch that would be irritating. I'd have to source the fish somehow, gut it, fillet it, descale it and whatever you have to do to fish, then shape it and cover it in breadcrumbs. To me, Stephen Mirrett's song is a fresh fish, beautiful...real...but a little bit bony. Peter Gabriel then took out the bones and filleted it and then 2CELLOS and Zucchero covered it in breadcrumbs so that now we have the fish finger version of "The Book of Love". I'm sure someone will get the analogy. Either way, I think this is ruddy brilliant: