I listen to a lot of music. Granted, 90% of it tends to be the Hamilton soundtrack; however, I've taken a break from Leslie Odom Jr.'s soothing vocals this week and fallen in love with Francis and The Lights' new debut album, Farewell, Starlite!
Like many people, I didn't know about Francis and The Lights, which is the stage name for this Chicago-based musical project led by Francis Farewell Starlite, until I heard him on Chance the Rapper's Coloring Book. And like most people, I thought it was Bon Iver when I first heard his vocals on the mixtape's Summer Friends.
Then, last Tuesday, I got the chance to attend Chance the Rapper's Magnificent Coloring World Tour stop in Denver. Francis and The Lights opened for Chance. To my surprise, a lot of the people around me didn't know who he was. Usually I would pray for the opening act to get off stage as quick as possible so we could get to the main act, but I was actually really interested in hearing more from Francis, especially since I had his track, Friends featuring Bon Iver, on repeat.
Francis didn't disappoint. He performed his entire 10-song album for us. I was struck by his unique selection of sounds and carefree, sometimes erratic, movements on stage. He put on an awesome show, and it's no surprise to me that he has not only received love from Chance the Rapper but also fellow Chicago native Kanye West, whose vocals can be heard on the album's My Citys Gone.
When I saw Farewell, Starlite! released on Apple Music, I was eager to relive my concert experience. I played the first track, See Her Out (That Just Life), and immediately felt like I was back in Denver's Fillmore Auditorium surrounded by hundreds of teenagers taking full advantage of Colorado's legalized marijuana law. The music swept me up, and I found myself emulating Francis and The Lights' dance moves (if that's what you want to call them) in my bathroom mirror.
Outside of the tracks I already mentioned, my favorite songs on the album are:
I'm a sucker for funk, and this album is full of dynamic funk sounds. While, yes, Francis' voice does sound similar to Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, his sound also reminds me of former Kanye collaborator Mr Hudson. I used to bump Mr Hudson's Straight No Chaser album (2009) all the time, so it's nice to catch some of those vibes again.
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