“Each of us is a single syllable/In the great love letter of this great world.” – Paul Weinfield, “The Great Love Letter of This Great World.”
This seems like a tough pill to swallow right now – unrelenting optimism. If you’re paying attention to the news today, you’re seeing partisan infighting, fearmongering over immigrants, and, literally, fire. So you might ask yourself how might someone write a song like Paul Weinfield’s “The Great Love Letter of This Great World” at this particular moment in history.
“We are living through a very difficult time with real and serious challenges,” says Weinfield, “but we’re also living through a time when people fall into a kind of kneejerk apocalyptic thinking that isn’t helpful. We aren’t used to ‘looking for the helpers,’ as Mister Rogers said. So this song is a gentle reminder that if people take time to look for the best in each other, there’s a lot of greatness to be found.”
The video, directed by Danny Ward with cinematography by Luke Tedaldi, addresses this friction by showing people struggling, sending messages in print expressing things they can’t seem to say out loud. One woman writes on a paper airplane, “Fighting for your attention sucks.” A note by a couple reads, “Everyone is happier than we are.”
The song is the lead track from Weinfield’s album Music Is People, due out in December. The album featured fifteen different singers taking on Weinfield’s music, including Beccs, who is featured on this song. According to Beccs, the philosophy of the song isn’t just words for Weinfield, but an embodiment of how he lives. “I’ve known Paul for several years now,” she says, “and have been absorbing the beautifully woven lessons in his lyrics, his writings, his meditation workshops, and from Paul himself who lives by example. It makes you grow an even deeper appreciation for the words in this song when you know how much Paul lives by them. It’s a perfect picture of what he imbues in those around him.”
The song might reflect Weinfield’s personality, but he said it wouldn’t have fit his voice. It was, however, perfect for Beccs. “Beccs is one of the greatest singers I’ve ever worked with,” he says. “But on a deeper level, there’s something about her personality — a mix of vulnerability and seriousness combined with an unbreakable optimism — that seemed right for this song. My voice would have been too dark and missing the right nuances.”
Beccs is gearing up to release new music in 2019. You can read my short review of her 2016 EP Unfound Beauty here.