I got to see him twice during his March residency at the Satellite, and I wanted to write more about his new album ‘Division Street’, but time and work caught up with me and I didn’t! However, this is my second chance as Harper Simon has just released a video for ‘99’, one of the most folky and upbeat songs off his Tom Rothrock-produced album.
If the light and bouncy melody could make the more morose morning hop from joy with its breezy-upbeat tempo, if the tune has warm harmonies – at the Satellite he sang it with a little help from Jenny O at the back-up vocals – the lyrics are rather melancholic since Simon is longing after this wonderful year of 1999 when a pretty brunette was in his life. The whole song is about the past and the cross-dissolving images of the video look like memories fading away in your mind.
‘Sometimes I wish I could wake up/And see you lying there like it is 1999’ he sings in the hooky chorus’, 1999 is not that long ago but Simon seems either to have a secret love for everything vintage or retro, or to remember 1999 as something coming from a remote past. Who still uses a toy slide-viewer? Who still uses an old-fashioned camera to take pictures? And who still listen to the Beach Boys in vinyl? Wait a minute, everyone does in Silver Lake!
Watch the video for ’99’ below, it may be more mood-changing than life-changing, but the song is certainly very catchy, and the album definitively needs to be checked out.