Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 3:53 p.m.
Artist: Francis and the Lights
Title: It'll Be Better
Release date: July 20
In 2010, a lot of artists have tipped their musical hats to the hitmakers of the 1980s, but none that I've heard has paid homage to Peter Gabriel, who was as big a star as nearly anybody from that decade. Well, no more. Because here is Francis and the Lights, a New York act that is essentially a one-man show led by the ostentatiously named Francis Farewell Starlite.
Francis' music isn't anywhere near as colorful as his name, but it is highly serviceable as a kind of Chardonnay-sipping neo-yacht rock, featuring lots of couplets like this: "There's something calling to me / Like a picture in a frame / Like a love letter, calling you away." And his voice sure sounds similar to Gabriel's.
Apparently, Francis and the Lights opened for MGMT on some of their dates, which must've bored the MGMT fans out of their minds. Francis and the Lights opening for John Mayer? Now, that would make perfect sense.
Best song: "In a Limousine"
Deja vu: "Sailing" by Christopher Cross, but definitely not "Ride Like the Wind" by Christopher Cross.
I'd rather listen to: Not Peter Gabriel. I really hated his 1980s hits ("Sledgehammer"? Eesh). I'd even go so far as to say fellow ex-Genesis singer Phil Collins, though a lot cheesier than Gabriel, was more palatable to me than Gabriel.
Grade: C (At eight quick songs, it's too short and sweet too truly dislike. And I give the guy credit for unironically trying to replicate the bygone easy-listening genre.)
"Nothing Not New" is a yearlong project in which New Times editorial operations manager Jay Bennett, a 41-year-old music fan and musician, will listen only to music released in 2010. Each Monday through Friday, he will listen to one new record (no best ofs, reissues, or concert recordings) and write about it. Why? Because in the words of his editor, Martin Cizmar, he suffers from "aesthetic atrophy," a wasting away of one's ability to embrace new and different music as one ages. Read more about this all-too-common ailment here.
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