Whenever sweety and I have gone to the United Kingdom, part of my routine has been to scout out plays, musicals and concerts in London. We’ve been lucky to see some pretty terrific performances over the years. On our last trip there three years ago, I noticed that the North London foursome Wolf Alice was playing a show in Margate, on the east coast of England, north of Dover.
I had just learned of this band a short while before, and really would have liked to see them play a live gig so was thinking of taking a solo side-trip whilst sweety did family stuff. By train, it would have taken only about 90 minutes to get there, but then I probably would have needed to stay overnight if a return train didn’t run late enough, and maybe the train would be late and I’d miss it… and… and… Anyway, I didn’t go. And I remain sorry to this day that I didn’t “just do it,” like I also didn’t venture out to Toronto to see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds when they played there in 2018. There’s a lesson for me in there…
Anyway, I’ve enjoyed Wolf Alice since hearing of and buying their first full-length album, My Love Is Cool (2015). The band describe themselves as “rocky pop,” and there’s a mix of serious and fun on the album which I purchased about a year after its release. One favourite of mine, which like The Psychedelic Furs’ “Heaven”(please see my first daily post, January 5, 2020, for that song) immediately lifts my mood, is “Bros,” which has a charming official video. Another favourite is the title track from their 2013 EP, Blush.
Their second full album, Visions of a Life (2017), contains my other mood-lifting fave of theirs, “Don’t Delete the Kisses,” a song about a woman who is slightly fearful about starting a romantic relationship and launches into a self-talk that becomes the two spoken verses of the song: “What if it’s not meant for me… Love.”
“Don’t Delete the Kisses” is also the subject of an episode of Song Exploder (a podcast I told you about on January 11, 2020 with Sharon Van Etten’s “Seventeen”). Episode 137 tells the story of how “Don’t Delete the Kisses” was constructed, developed from demo to studio, and the various versions it went through. I love how, during a discussion about the evolution of the synth line, drummer Joel Amey talks about being at a music festival, when the band is far away and you run toward the sound of the song you love, playing in the distance. Yes!
Spoiler alert: It works out for her…
The song has a funky, catchy pop beat, and starts with a guitar feedback loop that runs under much of it (an effect that came about as a “mistake” and it, like all the other song elements, is explained in the Song Exploder episode). The synthesizer line starts to rise and build at 3:09 and that is a huge part of the arm-hair-raising mood lift for me as the story comes to the happy conclusion of what lead singer Ellie Rowsell calls the “soppy lyrics.”
“When we catch eyes at that stupid party
I know exactly what to do
I’ll take your hand, and we will leave
French exits for me and you
And now I’m home, a little bit drunk
Some things don’t change
And I know now…
Me and you were meant to be
(from “Don’t Delete the Kisses,” by Joel Amey, Theodore Ellis, Ellen Rowsell, Jonathan Oddie)
The band isn’t all about fun, soppy lyrics; they really rock it out, play some darker tracks, too, and are terrific instrumentalists and singers. I find a thread of optimism throughout their music and think they are mildly reminiscent of “arena rock.” And they unknowingly helped teach me a lesson about not following one’s passion (or bliss, as Joseph Campbell would put it).
I also realize that for all the relationships that do work out, there are many that don’t, and sometimes it’s hard to even find that person with whom you will want to share your life… life can be lonely and sometimes it is not until we truly love ourselves that we can invite in and embrace love from someone else. Life is complicated… but worth the effort.
Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.
Here’s the official video from the Wolf Alice YouTube channel: