Letter #49

Good morning / afternoon / evening,

I hope you’ve had a wonderful week. Feels like summer is on its way 🌞. I was really nervous about last week, it’s been a while since I’d put together a themed letter, and the letter itself was a bit more indepth than usual, but the feedback has been really positive – and thank you to everyone that got in touch!

This week we have something really special. When this whole thing started (nearly a year ago), I tweeted a link to the sign up page and gave a pretty shoddy articulation of what this was all going to be about. One of the first people to sign up was Mark Pinsent. He’s been a friend for years, but I had no idea about his love for music. This week Mark’s put together a guest letter, and like those before him, he’s captured the essence of what Love Will Save the Day is all about, while putting together a mixtape that I never would’ve done (in a good way). He’s raised a few concerns that the songs were all a bit obvious, but obscurity has never been the point – the point has always been about sharing music and ideas on culture with people who love it as much as I do. You.

I hope you enjoy Mark’s guest letter as much as I have, thanks Mark.

🌪 TL;DR section 🌪
Stuff to do: cover the new Grandmother synth from Moog; read this amazing interview with Margo Jefferson on criticism and culture; learn more about Carla Bley; celebrate Eno’s 70th by reading this piece on him and the birth of ambient; prepare yourself for the upcoming film about Wiley; listen to every song from Donald Glover’s Atlanta; read more about the solo album from BadBadNotGood’s Matty Tavares; learn about the horrific treatment of (and subsequent protests from) Tbilisi’s underground club culture.
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Jed asked me if I’d like to guest edit a Love Will Save the Day letter.

Honestly, I shat myself.

I adore Love Will Save the Day. I’ve been in since week one. Jed’s even been kind enough to feature a track I suggested (Letter #7, if you’re interested). It’s helped me discover so much great music, and genuinely has been the soundtrack to the start of my family’s weekend. I live in France, but I’m in London most weeks for work. I’m almost always home by Friday lunchtime, and when the kids are back from school and my wife Michelle has a much-needed glass of wine in her hand, it’s the latest Love Will Save the Day playlist on in the kitchen and the weekend officially kicks off. Magic.

I love music, but I’m no aficionado. So, when Jed asked me to put a list together I had an immediate crisis of confidence. But he convinced me, so here we are. Apologies in advance. If you’re a genuine music buff, this might be the time for a week off. Treat it as an anomaly. It’s unashamedly mainstream. It’s a bit like the Now That’s What I Call Music of Love Will Save The Day (#NTWICMLWSTD?)

Here are some notes to accompany the playlist.

Some sentimental old guff to kick things off. As mentioned by Jed in the notes to Letter #7, much of the music of my early childhood was influenced by my mum. Blues, jazz…there was always something on. My Sunday mornings were waking up to both the smell of bacon and the sound of music wafting up the stairs. Pretty idyllic to be honest.

My Dad died in January this year, but unless I fancied including a bit of Status Quo or Jools Holland and his Big Boogie Bollocks Band on the playlist, Dad wouldn’t feature. So, the first track’s for my Mum. Two of her favourites, Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie, with You’ve Got a Friend. Because if I’ve learnt anything since January, friends and family are everything (and love will save the day).

The music you hear when you’re tiny still penetrates. Even though I wasn’t making my own choices, the next few tracks on the list washed over me then and have stayed with me since. Well, apart from Edwin Starr’s Twenty Five Miles, that is. That’s there because it featured on the brilliant soundtrack to the amazing film, I Believe In Miracles (slightly biased, because I’m a Nottingham Forest fan, but it really is an incredible movie).

Quick note on Fleetwood Mac. Rumours is an phenomenal album, and if you’ve never heard the backstory to the making of it (of course you have, you musos) you really should. It’s a lesson in the best art being created through pain and turmoil (blah, blah, blah) though this track’s an uplifter (not a real word).

On that note, I have disco lights in my kitchen. Everyone should. When most parties end in the kitchen anyway, why not bring the party to the kitchen? Seriously, pick one of these up on Amazon. It’s life changing.

There’ll be rolled eyes at having Michael Jackson’s P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) on the playlist. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink…”we all know the pretty young things Wacko Jacko was interested in, don’t we?” Whatever. It’s a great skipping track.

Skipping?

Yes, skipping. Not with a rope. Just, you know, skipping. It’s impossible to skip without smiling (really, try it) and some tunes are just made for skipping. With P.Y.T skipping starts at precisely 14 seconds in. You’re welcome.

Nile Rodgers is great, obviously. But the bassline in Everybody Dance is the star of that track. And Luther Vandross sang backing vocals! Who knew?

First single bought? The Buggles, Video Killed the Radio Star.

Quite proud of that.

First album bought? Grease soundtrack.

Less so.

Moving on.

The 80s. My teenage years. Smash Hits, Wham!, Howard Jones, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet…the list goes on. I liked a fair bit of it all but ended up gravitating towards guitars. Hence, The Cult. An obvious track (“aren’t they all?” I hear you cry) but a great one.

Right, now, the 90s (this wasn’t meant to be chronological but…). It was perfect. I graduated in 1992, got a job and moved into London in ’93, single, living with mates and then…Britpop! Football in Regent’s Park, wearing too much adidas, Oasis at Earl’s Court, Blur at Mile End, Shed Seven in Shepherd’s Bush, bumping into Brett out of Suede in a Notting Hill pub…Halcyon days.

Really though, they were. I went to see The Bluetones the other night and they were truly excellent. But for all the energy, I’ve always preferred slow songs from Oasis and Blur to the fast ones. Talk Tonight is a gem, and finishing the list with a live version of The Universal allows me to say goodnight to you all and give myself a round of applause.

But not before, in true village hall disco fashion, I’ve inserted an Erection Section.

Sorry.

I’ve gone on enough. I’ve loved doing this (thanks Jed) and if you get anything at all out of this all-too-predictable collection of tunes, then that’ll do me.

As always, if you’ve read to here, thanks for indulging me ♥️.

See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day

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