We talk a lot about story, about the narrative. What’s the point, you know?
But sometimes the story of something, is just that that something is really good. That it simply succeeds at being what it was intended to be. And you love it for that, because unlike most of life, it gives you what you want.
I’m trying to describe the feeling I get when I listen to Louie Short. Intensely likeable. Smart. Just the right amounts of Toronto and LA.
We first met last summer, and first heard his new record late in the Fall. Instantly, it was just like, “we gotta put this out.” There isn’t a lot to say about it other than it’s great. Or rather, not much I can think to say. But it’s really great. It’ll have been one of my favourite albums for almost a whole year by the time most folks hear it in a couple of months.
So “What Can I Do” is the first single from OMW 4ev, Louie’s full length that we’re releasing soon. And our painfully straight forward narrative is this: DIY genius makes awesome, quirky songs that hit just right.
The single does have a “story” though.
The song was written by Louie’s father, Michael Short, and an artist named BJ Cook in the late 70s Toronto. A version of it was recorded at the old RCA studios with the intent of selling it – possibly through BJ’s ex-husband David Foster – but nothing came of it and he tape disappeared. 40 years later, in the process of clearing out the old studio, an engineer who’d always like the recording digitized it and emailed it to the writers. His dad played it for him and Louie cut his version of the record shortly thereafter.
“The genre is songs” is a direct quote from Louie. It perfectly represents both his approach and sense of humour. Same way I felt when he told me his old bio simply stated “he’s not not trying to be Carole King.” The point is Louie is a songwriter and a damn good one. Go listen to Cherry, Cherry (his 2019 record we re-released this year). It’s all there, Tobias Jesso, Gram Parsons, Stephen Malkmus. Warmth, charm, honesty.
The story offers a relevant parallel to Louie Short music. The entire self-created, genre-bending songs that feel like they’re from the past, but never existed before. Louie offers his own thoughtful contextualization of the song and by extension, the record that’s to come.
“It’s about real love that you work for,” Louie said. “We call a lot of songs love songs, but often they aren’t really love songs; they’re infatuation songs. They feature love that is obsessively beginning or tragically ending while claiming foreverness, but beginnings and endings don’t last forever. Forever is in the middle of things. In those parts of life and love where you are just participating in a process. So in a world where you’re either coming or going, I wanted to celebrate the part where you are on your way… forever!”
To me, “What Can I Do” is a classic song from a timeless artist. A man of today with soul from before. It’s just one of those things, and I bet you’ll like it.