This is an interesting one, because three songs popped into my mind pretty much immediately (this perpetual bachelor is as surprised as anyone).
I wrote about a song on Ben Folds’ solo debut album on Challenge Day 4. The last song on that album, “The Luckiest”, would make a lovely wedding song. Aside from the gorgeous piano melody and the swelling strings, the sentiment of the words is pitch perfect. The song touches on the theme of searching high & low, far & wide to find the right person to share your life. And how, once those two people become bonded to each other, there’s a metaphysical permanence across space & time. It’s a song that could have easily become schmaltzy in a lesser songwriter’s hands, but Folds captures the sentiment perfectly.
Another song that I’ve always loved is Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed”. This song, coincidentally, is from McCartney’s solo debut album from 1970. Sir Paul reportedly played most (if not all) of the instruments on this recording by himself, and it sounds like a labour of love. There isn’t a shred of doubt in his voice that he is over-the-moon crazy for his dear Linda. The piano and guitar melodies would fit seamlessly into The Beatles’ Abbey Road album, which I suppose makes me Captain Obvious but it’s the highest compliment I can pay a song and songwriter.
But one song from Peter Gabriel’s recent release New Blood tops my list. The new version of “In Your Eyes” is stunning. Gabriel’s new album features re-interpretations of his songs, this time with tastefully-arranged symphonic orchestration instead of the conventional drums, guitars, and keyboards. I love the way the strings carry the melody and the rhythm in this new version of the song. I was initially concerned that the symphonic treatment would take away from the brilliance of the original record, but instead it reveals all-new facets of a great song. The staccato rhythms are simultaneously playful and romantic, rooted in the earth while soaring with joy.
The lyric speaks to something more profound than love; ‘love’ is clearly an insufficient word to describe all the things that Peter is feeling about his subject.
(In your eyes) the light the heat
(In your eyes) I am complete
I see the doorway to a thousand churches
the resolution of all the fruitless searches
Oh, I see the light and the heat in your eyes
Oh, I want to be that complete
I want to touch the light, the heat I see in your eyes
I have looked high & low, far & wide for someone with that look in her eyes. I don’t know if I believe in fate or destiny or any of that pseudo-spiritual mumbo-jumbo. But if there is any kind of blind justice in this world and I get profoundly, amazingly lucky maybe I will find her some day. On occasion that’s the glimmer of hope that inspires me to keep looking. And if I ever do find the woman with ‘the look’ in her eyes, I believe I’m going to need a tan-coloured trenchcoat and a boombox…