Get Out of the Office, Get Into The Springtiiiiiiime*
Enough Las to Las-t You a Lifetime
*funnily enough, this song is not on our 2023 spring listening playlist, but it’s so good you may want to revisit it, anyway!
We’re not going to talk about pollen. THIS WEEK. We make no promises about next week.
Summer has been paying an early visit to our little densely populated corner of the continent this week, and there’s nothing like a change of season – no matter how unexpected or temporary – to make us yearn for new tunes. Or new-to-us, anyway. Dame Margaret had the smashing idea to create a new Springtime playlist in Spotify, and so we have!
We hope you enjoy Springtime, Tra La! and we put together some liner notes for it, in lieu of the big listening party we’d prefer to host. If you discover a new-to-you favorite in here, let us know, and be sure to mention other songs that match these vibes, too. Because we know not everyone is a Spotify person, we’ve embedded links to the songs in YouTube, as well.
But before we segue to our pert opinions about this season’s tunes, we’ve got…
A Wee Round-Up Of Other Things We’ve Been Working On:
In addition to her course on Taylor Swift and confessional writing (already covered at length in a previous issue of this very newsletter), Dame Margaret’s company has launched a couple more extremely cool things:
First up, we’re recruiting students for a second round of What Matters, which feels like the class that most purely distills what’s special about Not Sorry’s programming. Using Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend as an object of study, a point of common reference, and a tool for self-reflection, three of our brilliant faculty will help twenty-four students For four months of weekly meetings, students will use a combination of traditional sacred reading practices, innovative personal reflective work, and storytelling to untangle their feelings about friendship, family, belonging, and ambition. For the folks who did our first iteration of this course, the work was exceptionally impactful— if it sounds interesting to you, Dame Margaret very much hopes you’ll click through to read more about it.
Second, we’ve announced the last of our 2023 pilgrimages: twenty pilgrims will head to Cape Cod from November 11th-13th to read Mary Oliver’s Dream Work in community with Naomi Westwater, one of our most popular faculty members. While this trip will have the same incredible opportunities for self-reflection and collective growth as What Matters, the two things Dame Margaret wants to emphasize about this trip are as follows: (1) it falls right before the insanity of winter holiday season, a moment when she strongly believes everyone deserves a weekend of quiet contemplative hiking and poetry and (2) everyone who attends will stay in their own private luxury suite made from refurbished vintage Airstream trailers. There are only 8 spots left on this pilgrimage, so if you’re as allured by that description as Dame M. is, act fast.
Dame Sophie checked in with niche perfume websites for Fashionista. Not too surprisingly, no-pressure sampling is a great way to sell full bottles to a market still eager for lovely sensory experiences!
Dame Karen has been writing for Glam.com and just did a roundup of 2023 handbag trends for spring. She then found a beautiful woven leather bag on sale at the Springfield, MA Savers!!! Coincidence?!
Be sure to ask Dame Margaret about Lilac Watch 2023!
“Rose Rouge” – Saint Germain – A song audacious enough to sample “Take Five” is always going to catch my ear. This song sounds like every hair salon I went to 1997-2002, and I mean that in the best possible way. It’s what we should have been obsessed with instead of Moby’s Play.
“Birds Don’t Sing” – TV Girl – This one has been on my 17 year-old’s heavy rotation playlist for a month or two and every time I hear it, I say “oh, what’s this, I really like it!” I finally pulled it up on my own phone, and guess what, I still like its whole louche day-drinking retro vibe! I know nothing else about TV Girl, other than they’re playing Coachella both this and next weekend.
“I Need You” – Prom Queen – pretty sure this one was algorithmically served to me, at least partially on the basis of my repeat enjoyment of “Birds Don’t Sing”. As I write this, I realize it’s a very close cousin to The Neighborhood’s “Sweater Weather” and now I’m laughing – knowingly, ruefully – at myself as I crank up the volume juuust a little more.
“telepatía” – Kali Uchis – Another perfect song to listen to on repeat while lounging under an umbrella, glamorously decked out in your flowy, glamorous ensemble of choice & sensibly slathered in SPF 50.
“Pretty” – Fox Academy – Here’s the point where I realize that this entire playlist is an homage to girl groups and to sonic dreaminess, most strongly exemplified by Alvvays’s “Dreams Tonite”, which isn’t even on this playlist. My editorial caprice/restraint! Bonus points for the lyrical reference to 2022-23 NBA Assists Leader James Harden (Go Sixers!).
“Champagne Kisses” – Jessie Ware – this one predates Jessie’s full embrace of being a nouveau disco queen, but it is a melancholy ecstasy on the dancefloor bop. Love to hear an airy voice applied to earthy lyrics.
“Mist of A Dream” – Birdlegs & Pauline – another algorithmically-delivered artist, another 18/10, no notes. They only recorded one album, and it’s a gem, well worth spinning in full this or any weekend. This song is beautifully reminiscent of “I Only Have Eyes For You”
“Been So Long” – Saint Etienne – this is one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite albums of all time, so it’s very possible that I’ve put it on more playlists than is strictly normal, but it’s earned those playlist placements. When I grow up, I will still be aspiring to being as cool as Sarah Cracknell’s vocals here.
“La Melodía del Afilador” – SVPER – un afilador is a knife sharpener, and the synthy melody line here does have in its DNA a bit of the jingle that used to trail behind my long-ago Toronto neighborhood’s knife sharpening van. This is a good reminder to self to revisit NPR’s Alt.Latino podcast, which is how I first got my socks knocked off by this song.
“Shadow” – Wild Nothing – This isn’t a song I’m so obsessed with that I need to listen to it every day, but I’m also happy to hear it anytime it comes around, especially in the car. How many dreamy, shimmering songs with synths and strings under hushed male vocals does one need? Who knows, but this one makes my Top 50 list pretty handily.
“Ungodly Hour” – Chloe x Halle – I Shazamed this one just this week; my thanks to whichever TV show played it over their closing credits! If we filtered H.E.R.’s “Focus” through Beyoncé’s “Love Drought”, that would pretty great, wouldn’t it?
A breath of fresh air, dainty, & dangerous if eaten!
It’s extremely corny, but I was inspired by the title of this playlist and decided to include songs that contain la la’s --the la la’s are not always in the title, but they often are, including THREE oo[o]h la la [la’s]! I’m actually extremely busy right now (a good thing but also OH MY GOD, I haven’t been busy in a long time and it’s HARD?! I’m learning all over again!) and also I need to move out of my apartment of EIGHT YEARS in June but let me put on a little la la music and drift away for a second, ok?
“Ooo La La La” - Teena Marie - This is my ultimate crush song -- it’s so dramatic and sparkly and both dreamy and powerful at the same time. It’s also interpolated in “Fu-Gee-La” by the Fugees! Sweeeeet thiiiiing…
“Ooh La La” - Goldfrapp - A lot of modern pop music sounds like Goldfrapp, right? I dig it! This is an extremely fun and hot combo of some T. Rex song that was never released (in my fantasy) and “La Grange” by ZZ Top (in reality) and it’s a perfect driving on the highway song. Windows down!
“Ooh La La” - Faces - The song that plays at the end of Rushmore and makes me cry to this day. I used to produce a stage show called Mortified and we used this at the end of every show and it meant I was done for the night and could finally relax and hug people and go the hell home and that’s what spring is, too, when I’m not too allergic to the earth to the move. Relax and hug your people -- we made it!
“Walkin’” - Thundercat - Perfect to have in your headphones as you take your first coat- or jacket-free walk of the year.
“Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” - Kylie Minogue - I recently put this on a running mix to strategically employ when I feel like I can’t run anymore and guess what, it’s still a perfect pop song 22 entire years after its release!
“La-La Means I Love You” - The Delfonics - The sonic equivalent of being pleasantly cross-faded in your friend’s pool and floating lazily on a novelty pool float, like a donut or a piece of pizza or something. I know it’s a little early for that, but it’s nice to pretend. Also, if you’re hanging out with a fellow fan of the movie Jackie Brown you can race each other to be the first to intone “I didn’t know you liked The Delfonics.” They’re pretty good!
“Spring” - Saint Etienne - Another band that a lot of modern pop music sounds like. Not a literal la la song, but come on. It’s entirely possible Sophie introduced me to this song in the very late ‘90s -- thank you, Sophie! [Always a pleasure to bring Saint Etienne into a fellow music lover’s heart! – Dame S.]
Dame Margaret’s liner notes will go out tomorrow morning, because she spent all the time she had sequencing the …. sixteen… songs she decided to include rather than writing about them. Classic M. Will. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the bonus tomorrow, but the carefully sequenced songs are yours to listen to immediately.