FRANCES QUINLAN – ” Likewise ” Best Albums Of 2020

Posted: February 8, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Hop Along’s Frances Quinlan released her debut solo album “Likewise” on January 31st, 2020 via Saddle Creek Records. After four explosive albums in the form of Hop Along, the opening strains of Frances Quinlan’s Likewise play appreciably against expectations. The singer possesses one of the greatest and most unique voices in rock ‘n’ roll today, an instrument of both ragged power and fluttering grace, but here it’s been tamed from the guttural intensity so often heard in classic Hop Along tracks like “Waitress.” Her first solo album is a pristine work of inventive, introspective and sometimes chaotic songwriting, and although I warmed to it quickly when it was released in February, I find myself repeatedly spinning it now at home, especially while I’m working.

Frances Quinlan is one of our finest songwriters, and Likewise, her first solo album after almost a decade in Hop Along, is a showcase for her many talents. Her songs are impressionistic fragments — they feel unmoored in time, like “Went To LA,” or they settle for indeterminate endings, like “Your Reply” and “Rare Thing.” Her arrangements on Likewise are light and weightless, but Quinlan brings a gravity and emotional acuity to everything that she does. It’s an album that ponders big questions but doesn’t get tripped up on the answers; it savours the unknowing.

There isn’t a song that has been more deeply ingrained in my head for the last month than earworm “Your Reply,” to the point that I’m wondering if surgery may be required to dislodge it. Inspired by the notes found within the copy of a dog-eared book, there’s just something mesmerizing about how Quinlan manages to turn real-life horror—“The author I read fell from a window many stories high / stretching out to feed pigeons or a stray cat depending on the website”—into a turn of phrase that would only sound pretty when she’s the one delivering it.

On the lead single off her solo album Likewise, “Rare Thing,” Frances Quinlan recalls a surreal dream where barbs like, “I know there is love that doesn’t have to do with taking something from somebody” sting against a stippled synth. For “Detroit Lake,” she conjures images of a hawk striking prey, blooming algae, and words left unspoken, while the plaintive notes of “A Secret” mirror her lyrics’ portrait of geographical and emotional distance. At times, the syncopation between her vocals and the instrumentation is so effortless that it feels like she’s dynamically bending the instruments to her will.

She previously shared the first single “Rare Thing,” and now she’s recently returned with her second single, “Now That I’m Back.” It features Quinlan’s signature vocals but given a new sonic dimension full of space and electronics that surely separates her solo effort from her work with Hop Along.

Below find a little background on the track straight from Quinlan,

I find it mystifying that my idea of love has aged and changed right alongside me. I’d always thought of love as something one is given, I didn’t think much about my own capacity for love, for generosity. That’s too bad, but now I understand a little better, I hope. At this point I think love is always there, it exists in the margins, one needs only to access it (though this often requires some struggle and at times some pain).

Compromise is often required for the survival of most relationships. I was thinking about my struggles with compromise for the sake of understanding someone outside myself. It’s a long road, I think this song just portrays the start of it. Love is always around, even as great chunks of time drift from us and we inevitably find ourselves altered and wonder how we got to this place. I frighten myself with thoughts of love disappearing from my life, or of my hardening as a person. I’ve had some odd chapters over the last few years. I think this song came out of one of them.

Frances QuinlanNow That I’m Back from the album “Likewise” out January 31st, 2020

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