[Album]: Farewell, Starlite!
[Artist]: Francis and the Lights
Overall Grade/Rating: 9/10
Subject Matter: B
Replay Value: A
Fav Songs: May I Have This Dance, It’s Alright to Cry, Friends
Least Fav Songs: Comeback, Running Man/Gospel OP1
Play or Nay: Play
While Farewell, Starlite! is technically the debut album for Francis and the Lights, Francis has had music floating around since 2008. He has received praise from Chance The Rapper, Drake, Kanye West, Justin Vernon, and more. It took Francis Farewell Starlite (yes, that’s his name) collaborating with Vernon and West on “Friends” to make himself known to most music fans. Now, the album Farewell, Starlite! looks to take Francis and the Lights to the next level. The album pulls from a lot of influences, from Bon Iver to Prince to Phil Collins, and the result is probably the most complete pop album since Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveSounds.
The opening track, “See Her Out (That’s Just Life)” co-produced by Justin Vernon, is a good introduction to the choppy synths and expansive vocals featured throughout the album. “Can’t Stay Party” sounds a lot like a #1 hit for Phil Collins, which isn’t a bad thing as it fits excellently with the rest of the album.
“I Want You To Shake” sounds like a homage to Prince as the pulsing synths and bass play well with Francis’ ever versatile vocals. “I Want You To Shake” could be considered an extending introduction in to one of the best songs on the album in “May I Have This Dance.” The production of this love song is top notch, and Francis’ harmonies are perfectly placed to really develop the emotion throughout the song.
“My City’s Gone” includes a familiar voice in Kanye West, although it seems an odd place to fit Kanye in. The somber piano ballad is the darkest moment of the album both in lyrical content and in musicality, but Kanye’s unmistakable auto-tune heavy vocal drive a large amount of emotion towards the end of the track.
“Friends” in contrast to “My City’s Gone” is the brightest moment on the album and features production and always excellent vocals from Bon Iver. The combination of Starlite’s and Vernon’s vocals turn in the most dynamic performance on Farewell, Starlite!. The album closes with “Thank You” which as the title suggests is a thank you note to his fans and collaborators on this album. The song starts with a cell phone recording of Francis at a piano in Justin Vernon’s living room, which adds an extra element of personality to the record as a whole.
Farewell, Starlite! adds up to an excellent and refreshing pop album, one that doesn’t really have a defined place in the mainstream but will eventually force its way to the top. With so many big names behind the project, Francis and the Lights seem like an easy bet to make it to the top, and this album deserves every bit of it.
Watch the music video for “Friends” featuring Bon Iver and Kanye West below and get Farewell, Starlite! on Apple Music or Spotify.