Tuesday, 22 November 2011

31 Songs (A Scottish Fiction Rip Off...) - Song 4

I feel like these days I'm offering an apology at the start of every blog post. It's true I've been rather tardy in my '31 Songs' efforts, but who am I to apologise to you? Okay, you're right insulting the readers never goes down well. Humblest apologies m'lud.

Song 4

The Guillemots - Made Up Love Song #43

From the moment those first two notes hit my eardrum, theres an image. An image so clear and crystal it has become forever intertwinned with this song. The image is a face, the face of my wife Heather. I'm not quite sure how the association began, but through mutual love of the song we chose 'Made Up Love Song #43' by Guillemots as our first dance at our wedding. Whilst discussing it, it was decided upon almost instantly. We knew that we didn't want to go down the route of cheesy cliched ballads, that we wanted something we could dance to, something quirky, something with a bit of life that represented the kind of people we were. Whether or not 'Made Up Love Song #43' does that, I'm not sure, but it certainly was different. One of the best things about it was that it gave me a chance to showcase this criminally under-rated band to others, afterall talking during the first dance at a wedding is pretty much a faux pas.

But more than it being my first dance, it has snuck it's way in to the classic title of 'our song'. The lyrics are nonsensical, yet endearing. "I love you through sparks and shining dragons I do" to me is the beauty of not being able to find the words to describe the how you feel about someone. The song is all about finding beauty in everything around us, about the mundane things "now there's poetry in an empty coke can". You know that feeling when your in love, that makes everything seem like it's from a cheesy 1950's cartoon? That's what this song captures for me. Even dull and grotesque things "burnt out caravan" have beauty when your in love.

There's another reading of the song that I also think holds some water. It's not my interpretation, but I've heard some argue that the song is actually a critique of modern day love songs. Too often we hear wishy washy songs, penned by a pop mogul or faceless writer, and sung by the latest boy/girl group to tug at our heart strings. Pathetic. Devoid of feelings or real emotion these songs could just a well be the nonsense that fills the lines of 'Made Up Love Song #43'. Even the title suggests that this is what it is, a made up love song. Not based on real emotions. As I said, a nice idea if true.

My favourite lyrics however is the second chorus, "you got me off the sofa, just sprang out of the air. The best things come from nowhere, I can't believe you care". This to me sums up how my relationship with my wife began, and the sheer disbelief I still harbour that such a wonderful person would want to be with me. The best things do indeed come from nowhere.

Musically, the song represents what the Guillemots do very well. Singer Fyfe Dangerfield has a pitch perfect voice, which delivers the verses softly, letting himself go in the second half of the song. The final chorus has such power behind his voice it sends tingles down my spine. Done live this is one of the finest vocal performances I've ever seen.

The song starts of with a melodic guitar riff and a simple rhythm tapped out on the high hat. The full power of the band kicks in after about a minute, full drums with a quirky kick, the guitar riffs kicks up a bit and soaring strings fly in between, tying the vocals and the music together. This energy is short lived, as things quiet down again at the 2 minutes 30 seconds mark, as the song fades out. It's part of what makes the song so special, it's such a beautiful piece of music, yet only last for a short fleeting moment.

I've spoke about music and memories before, and 'Made Up Love Song #43' will forever remind me of one person. And despite what may be going on in our relationship, because of the place that song has it has the amazing ability to bring back to the fore all the good things that exist between me and my wife. It's a shining beacon, a lighthouse, which clears everything else away, and makes me remember exactly why I love this person. She got me off the sofa, just sprung out of the air. The best things do indeed come from nowhere.


  1. I had actually never heard this song until you guys had spoke about having it at the wedding and I have to say it just fits you both perfect, I remember crying with happiness at you doing your first dance to it and the song will forever remind me of that moment and of you both!! Thanks for sharing it!! Karen x

  2. Cheers Karen! Bringing a tear to a glass eye!