In 'Youth' Paolo Sorrentino had the great idea to make a movie about a composer, who is played in the film by Michael Caine. Paolo and I spent a lot of time talking about what the music in the film could mean. It became clear to me that Paolo needed the music to be the doorway into the emotional life of the character, that we would learn different things about the character from his music than from his words. It is a beautiful trope of the film that the composer would use words to communicate with other people but would use music to communicate with himself.
'Simple Song #3' is a communication across a very long distance, the entire creative life of the composer. Paolo needed the song to explore both ends of this communication - the young man who wrote it, when he was full of optimism and love, and the older man, whose life and love have changed. I thought of the song as a kind of time capsule, something to help us measure the distance all our lives must travel, on our way to age, from youth.