Monday, February 15, 2016

An Absolutely Cuckoo Valentine's Day

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, and to mark the occasion, a few of us got together at Gwdihw and covered our favourite tracks from 69 Love Songs by The Magnetic Fields.

Me (as Shiny Tiger) performing some Magnetic Fields song, probably

It was a slightly bizarre experience, to be quite honest. Listening to an album - particularly an album like 69 Love Songs - tends to be a very private experience, and so it was strange to hear those gorgeous Love Songs in public. Finding myself surrounded by people who knew all the words to Absolutely Cuckoo and Washington, D.C. was something of a revelation; until last night, a small part of me suspected that I may have just imagined 69 Love Songs, because surely if those songs were real then everyone would be singing them?

Well, last night, everyone was. Ed Stockham performed his version of Washington, D.C., as well as a cool take on Underwear; Scriber did a stunning rendition of Asleep and DreamingFrancesca's Word Salad covered both Come Back from San Francisco (which was lovely) and A Chicken With Its Head Cut Off (which was perfectly daft). I sang as many as I could remember - turns out Absolutely Cuckoo is kind of hard to sing solo without running out of breath!

And the whole night was uniquely marvellous. I've attended 'A Tribute to...' gigs in the past, but they were held in honour of artists, not specific albums. Last night's show felt particularly wonderful because you knew that the people there had the same musical experience in common; I daresay I wasn't the only person in Gwdihw last night who has stayed up late and consumed all sixty-nine Love Songs in one marathon session. It was great to be around other people who know how devastatingly beautiful Busby Berkeley Dreams is when you're in a fragile mood, or how surprisingly abrupt the ending of Very Funny is when you're not expecting it, or how unnerving the last chord of Zebra sounds at 2 o'clock in the morning.

After sixty-eight other songs and a touch of sleep deprivation, my brain simply doesn't know what to do with that ending.

If you missed the show last night and you fancy hearing some 69 Love Songs covers right now, you'll find Ed's version of Washington, Francesca's version of Chicken, and numerous other re-interpretations on The Album Wall's SoundCloud page. Alternatively, if you'd like to cover a Love Song for yourself, click here to see which ones are still available!

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