In 2018, “Remember Me” from Coco won Best Original Song at the 90th Academy Awards.
Good for Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson- Lopez!
But another song made a splash that year: “Mystery of Love”, written and performed by Sufjan Stevens.
Sufjan wrote “Mystery of Love” for Call Me By Your Name, a James Ivory film about a summer fling between two male students in 1983 Positano. For more on my boundless love for this film, go here.
“Mystery of Love” feels like falling in love. The mandolin plucks may as well be heartstring plucks as Stevens dreamily murmurs, “O to see without my eyes/ the first time that you touched me”.
The lyrics are poetry, like much of Stevens’ work. The film uses the song as Elio and Oliver ride bicycles through the green Italian countryside. Music supervisor Robin Urdang used three of Stevens’ songs for the film: “Mystery of Love”, “Futile Devices” and “Visions of Gideon”. The Call Me By Your Name soundtrack is a mix of bombastic 80’s Europop and pretentious Romantic music. It’s quite an eclectic listen. Sufjan’s songs really stand out.
Whenever I listen to “Mystery of Love”, I feel enraptured, euphoric, lightweight, and anxious, as love often makes us. “Now my riverbed has dried,” Stevens sings, “Will I find no other?”
Shailene Woodley’s character Jane danced on this beach to this song in the Season 2 premiere of Big Little Lies. I hope this marks the first of many times we hear this song in film. “Mystery of Love” has my heart, if not the Academy Award.