By Kelly Kenlon
As 2018 came upon us, we were blessed with a New Year’s Gift from Francis and the Lights: his album Just For Us. Not that Francis pulled a full on Beyoncé here, but he wasn’t really promoting this album until the day before when he tweeted, “I’m gonna release an album tomorrow, will you help spread the word?” And just like that, his new album arrived!
This is Francis and the Lights’ 5th studio album, with his first one being all the way back in 2007. Though most of his albums (like this one) don’t include many features or collaborations, in his 2016 album he teamed up with Bon Iver, Chance the Rapper and Kanye West. With his 2016 album, Farewell Starlite! (which happens to be his middle and last name) a remix of his song “May I Have This Dance” was released with Chance the Rapper. And let’s not kid ourselves- that version is a little bit better.
With Just For Us it felt like Francis and the Lights was combining two of his styles. The first one being a sound that is more focused on electronic beats and synths and the second, is a style that is a little slower and quieter. The album opens up with the sound of piano keys followed by a mellow beat, that isn’t covered in overlapping electronic sound just yet. The intro track, “Morning,” feels like Francis addresses the main point of this album with lyrics like, “I got something to believe in/I can finally see the end.” With a year that seemed like it was somehow never ending, this opening track feels like his way of saying ‘we made it through.’ The lyrics combine nicely with the actual melody of the song and give the album an easy start that pulls us in. The title track “Just For Us” is probably the most upbeat song in the album and it is somewhat reminiscent of his past album that focused more on songs you could dance to.
Unlike Farewell Starlite, this album puts a focus on some of his more down-tempo heart felt songs like “Faithful” and “Breaking Up.” A good half of the album is dedicated to a quieter sound that bounces back and forth with upbeat tracks. With songs like “Breaking Up” we are reminded that the album can be lighthearted while also somewhat melancholy. However, just when we think the album is going to become completely calmed down, the track “Tear It Up” comes right in the middle to bring back the energy.
If you don’t have time to listen to all ten tracks then make sure you check out, “Just For Us” “I Won’t Lie To You” and “Morning.” With Just For Us, Francis and the Lights ditches a lot of the heavy synths and electronic based sound and goes in another more relaxed direction. Be sure to check it out soon!