Lil Sprout: Waldo Witt’s “Love Like a Fire”

Written by Travis Shosa

Waldo Witt is a throwback, but when and where changes as often as his location. After recording his debut EP Randall out of his van in 2019, the Chapel Hill-based wanderer quickly followed up with 2020’s Inner Paths. If Randall was indebted to the ’80s synthpop scene, Inner Paths paid homage to the trip-hop artists that were most prevalent throughout the ’90s. As though it were the Back to the Future DeLorean, Witt leaped back in the van with his wife during the pandemic, traveling to remote rural areas–and the ’60s and ’70s–to create his debut album, Long Daze, Dark Nights.

The lead single, “Love Like a Fire,” lays the cheese thick with everything from its Todd Rundgren-does-disco sound to its deliciously camp and lossy-looking music video. It’s a track that puts a premium on fun above all else, though its lyrics lend an earnest emotional core that belies its presentation. Inspired by “La noche oscura del alma” (“The Dark Night of the Soul”), a 16th-century poem penned by Spanish mystic San Juan de la Cruz (John of the Cross), “Love Like a Fire” is as much an examination of broader uncertainty and the anxieties it breeds as it is a romantic boogie. “Oh night, more lovely than the dawn / That joins beloved with love / In the night, you guided me / More surely than the light of the day,” Witt sings, welcoming the darkness over a rolling rhythm. Witt wades through inky blackness on his soul searching, but colorful synthesizers burst through and lift him like a UFO tractor beam toward the celestial plane of enlightenment.

For more Waldo Witt, you can watch the video for “Carteret”:

Travis Shosa is the founder and editor-in-chief of Stamens/Pistils/Parties. Formerly the runner of COUNTERZINE, he has bylines at Pitchfork, The Alternative, and Post-Trash among others.

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