…But it’s not a Lisa Frank title or even an underhanded reference to the pastel rainbow unicorn maestro. No, it’s actually a reference to the source material for the a new Pretty Lights tracks, a sample pulled from Shuggie Otis’ 1971 classic soul track ‘Strawberry Letter 23.’ If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Derek Vincent Smith, it is that he’s well studied in 70’s soul records. I don’t know about you, but it’s what got me into Pretty Lights’ music in the first place. I don’t know how to explain it, but he uses these samples respectfully, leaving enough of the original intact while he weaves it into a dense fabric of modern synths, heavy beats, and twists and turns that will leave you slack-jawed.
The video released in tandem with the song follows a peculiar Debbie Harry-looking woman and what I believe is an extra from a Jason Bourne movie intermixed with striking black and white imagery of the silhouette of a muscular male striking poses and various hourglasses. I’m not even sure why I wrote about that, just check out the video below.
LETTER 22 is a story of the positivity that underscores all movement towards progress and enlightenment, no matter how many obstacles stand in the way.
It is the story of a pure force of will, hidden somewhere out there, that is dedicated to revealing evolutionary truths to this universe in a systematic way.
It is the story of a visitor from another place, charged with delivering an enigmatic message; a wandering guardian, protecting a civilization that rejects the sun; and a being watching over it all, orchestrating its rhythms.
LETTER 22 is also the story of all of us, who have each, at one time or another, felt ourselves to be in possession of knowledge or insight that appears an innate, universal truth to us, but is callously dismissed by others. In such moments, it is easy to feel as though you truly are from a different planet, governed by a different sense of logic and order than this one, which used to feel so familiar.
However, in such moments we also find ourselves at a crossroads – a point in spacetime where we must choose to either succumb to these tribulations, or overcome them, and let those triumphs fuel the continued search for others who are also willing to open their eyes to another point of view.
Derek also announced his run of New Year’s Eve shows in Detroit, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia. The appearance in Minneapolis is a part of the Snowta NYE festival, while the shows on either side of the sandwich are in more intimate venues. Check out the page on prettylightsmusic.com his page for details, ticket packages, and how to get in on the pre-sales.