When the Magnetic Fields released the landmark triple album 69 Love Songs in 1999, band mastermind Stephin Merritt would talk about the fundamental insincerity of the exercise. As a songwriter, Meritt wasn’t particularly interested in love, but he was interested in songs — in how they work, in the ways that they can manipulate us, in how a perfectly-structured sequence of notes and words can completely sweep us up. Maybe Merritt didn’t mean any of what he sang, but many of the songs he wrote were so transportingly beautiful that they’ve lived on for the past 19 years anyway. People now use those songs for entirely sincere purposes; at a good friend’s wedding, “The Book Of Love” was the first dance.
During a recent live-in-studio Spotify Session, the permanently tripped-out Florida dream-pop group Hundred Waters have covered “I Don’t Believe In The Sun,” one of the many perfect songs from 69 Love Songs. And their cover, at least as far as I can tell, is sincere. Without losing themselves in synth reverb or vocal processing, they’ve given a fairly straight, piano-based rendition of the song.
In that same Spotify Session, Hundred Waters have also done a perfectly lovely live-in-studio version of “Blanket Me,” one of the songs from last year’s Communicating. You can hear both that “Blanket Me” rendition and that Magnetic Fields cover below.
Communicating is out now on OWSLA.