Friday, August 10, 2012

"The Book of Love" by Magnetic Fields/Covered by Peter Gabriel

I am a loser and am staying in tonight watching old Scrubs re-runs. Husband is chilling with his friends but I'm just tired and wanted a night to myself. So, as any good Scrubs fan knows, during JD's final episode, the song that plays at the end is Peter Gabriel's cover of the Magnetic Fields song "Book of Love." This isn't that poppy, "well I wonder, wonder, wonder, wonder, who, who wrote the book of love!" song, but rather a slow, thoughtful tune that made me curious. I wondered what the original writer of the song must be thinking. So, of course, like all good people of my generation, I Googled it. Sadly, there's no explanation out there that I could readily locate.

Due to my innate fear of copyright infringement, I'm not going to re-post the lyrics or video here, but I assure you, if you Google this song and listen to both versions (and perhaps follow along on a handy lyrics website), your ears will be well-rewarded.

I'm curious what other people think this song is about. The song lets us know a few times that "the book of love is long and boring." It also goes on to mention things within the book of love - music, charts, facts, figures, instructions for dancing. Even though the singer seems mildly irritated by these things - perhaps not a big fan of music, reading, or dancing - he reassures his beloved that he loves to hear her sing, or read; and that she could read or sing him anything. Evidently, the book of love also contains things such as flowers, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, and "things we're all too young to know."

My thought is that this song is about people who grow old together.

Anyone who has been in a marriage or long-term relationship for longer than a few years will tell you - love is work; marriage is work. It isn't all dancing, flowers, and chocolates, although that is part of it at first. There are times where a relationship, if it's gone on long enough, will become, in fact, "long and boring." Think of those you know that have been married for years and years - grandparents celebrating their 40th, 50th, or even 60th wedding anniversary. I would bet you that they will inform you that many times, their book of love seemed long and boring. But there are certain things that help you hang on - the fact that, even though you may grow angry with one another, and sometimes things get hard (sometimes the facts and figures don't add up, for example), there are things to still love about each other - hearing their voice, hearing them sing, or just being together. And once you've built a life together - it's important not to throw that away.

Hopefully the book of long goes on for a while; but eventually, loss does happen, and finally, the book of love has endings - the things "we're all too young to know."

It's an interesting love song. Not like the typical impassioned love songs used to woo women or to express some kind of short-term lust; this seems more about enduring love, after you realize it's not all optimism and sunshine but also come to know that marriage is more than that in the long-term.

Anyone else heard this song and have any insights?