This past week we held a listening party in Denver, and one of the songs we played for the crowd was Stephin Merrit's "Book Of Love," from his album 69 Love Songs, by The Magnetic Fields. Our panelist, Amelia Mason, writer for WBUR's The ARTery, called it a perfect song, and many of us in the room agreed.
We couldn't hear Stephin Merritt's name without thinking of another remarkable song he wrote just for us, back in 2007, and he did the whole thing, soup to nuts, in just two days. This was for a series we did (and hope to do again) called Project Song. The idea was to give a musician access to a studio, some engineers and assorted instruments and then ask them to write and record a song in just two days. To help get them started, we gave the musicians some photos and words to consider. They could choose one word and one photo as inspiration. You can read more about Stephin's picks in the original post, and watch a video of how his song came together below. It really offers a fascinating glimpse into the creative process of a gifted songwriter.
We ended up doing several Project Song videos, including one with Moby (which won an Emmy). They take a lot of resources and time to pull off, but we hope to do more in the coming years.