The Magnetic Fields’ landmark 1999 album 69 Love Songs is exactly as it sounds: an expansive ode to the craft of songwriting through the lens of one of its most common tropes. It is an all-timer and a rare record that lends itself particularly well to cover versions, as Stephin Merritt’s songwriting is direct, clever, immediate, and quirky. The songs stand perfectly well on their own, but also serve well as the backbone for artists to expand upon.
In a recent live, in-studio Spotify Session, the woozy, Los Angeles-based trio Hundred Waters offered a fairly straightforward take on “I Don’t Believe In The Sun,” with frontperson Nicole Miglis’ delicate vocals fitting the song’s devastating lyrics perfectly (via Stereogum). The band puts some of its trademark textures into the chorus, giving the rendition a ghostly effect, and eventually building to a big finish that expands upon the original’s scope. It’s a pretty magical version, and one that does a service to the original project of Merritt.
The studio session also features a live version of Hundred Waters’ single from their latest album Communicating, the expansive “Blanket Me.” When paired together, you might not hear a better ten minutes of music today. Check them out below and look for Hundred Waters at their very own FORM Festival later this year.