Album Review: Frances – Things I’ve Never Said
Things I’ve Never Said
Released 17th March 2017
Words: Elena Katrina
Well it would be remiss of me to not cover the debut album by Frances having reviewed almost all of her singles since day dot and having seen her live progression from solo artist in all of the sense of the word, to working with a full live production team and live band.
Things I’ve Never Said has one of the bravest opening tracks for an album with Don’t Worry About Me. I thought it was a brave choice as a single, what with it’s sparse and slow opening but actually as an introduction to the album it works well for me. I do, however, find myself wondering how it will work for those not so familiar with the song or with Frances’ work in general. It could be a bit hit and miss.
For pre-existing fans of Frances they’ll be thrilled with the inclusion of the sublime Let It Out, and the stunning Grow – the track that arguably gained her the bulk of media and public attention. I still find it to be my favourite song of hers. It’s no nonsense which uses clever layering of vocal and the kind of piano melodies that we just don’t seem to hear so much of any more. There is no “interesting” modern pop music effects – this is perfect pop to me, it’s classic and it’s timeless.
Of course it is 2017 and so while Grow sets the standard for me there is still need for Frances to sound like the young fresh contemporary artist that she is so you will find a mix of those pure piano ballads and cleverly penned, perfectly produced numbers such as Drifting and the almost R&B track No Matter. The later of which, seeing as I’m in reviewing mode and I like to be fair, I’ll say I dislike immensely. Why? Because for me it doesn’t do her any justice and is a direction I don’t really want to see her taking in the slightest as it doesn’t feel true to her as an artist nor give her credibility as that timeless pop and dances around with a little insecurity on that part. You wouldn’t find Adele messing around with this kind of sound in order to try and reach a wider audience. That’s obviously just my opinion and perhaps Frances is wanting to experiment with sounds – which she’s done before and I’ve disliked before. The less said about it the better really because the majority of this album is ticking boxes, big time.
There are tracks here that are glorious and that really do Frances justice and that includes the tender yet slightly sombre offering of the album closer The Last Word. It feels as though it was written to be included in a Hollywood Blockbuster. Of course this is something that Frances has done before having recently penned a track, What Is Love?, for Fifty Shades Darker. There is also the sweetness and the bitterness of Love Me Again, which in my mind manages to capture yet more of a classic piano pop song, which can really transcend fashions and fads.
Above all Frances is an incredible songwriter, her songs have potential to reach a wide audience because of her ability to tell a story that people can connect with and manipulate it into infectious melodies and moments of musical interest. Things I’ve Never said is a strong debut album and paves a way forward for the talented young singer songwriter, which path she decides to build is entirely up to her, but I have my hopes as you can probably have guessed.
Listen to Grow here: