Francis and the Lights
It’ll Be Better
Hi, I’m Meathead. Travis (of Buddyhead) gave me a stack of CDs the other night so I could write shitty reviews of them here, I guess so I wouldn’t bum everybody out with another stupid cartoon instead. I probably won’t end up reviewing all of them, because I’m not what you’d call “good at following through on things,” but I’ll at least half-ass a few paragraphs about this one so it looks like I’m making an effort and I don’t end up getting fired from this lucrative Buddyhead gig.
I really didn’t know what to make of this album at first. My initial impression was that the dork on the cover, who I can only assume is Francis and I don’t care enough to Google it, looks like some unfortunate hybrid of Beavis and Birthday Party-era Nick Cave. And why is there a clock badly Photoshopped into the picture? Whatever, who cares. Besides, who am I to judge a CD by its cover? I mean, there’s still a chance this could end up being a pretty good album, right?
I think it was probably about twenty seconds into the third song, “For Days,” that I decided that this album sucks. To be fair, that’s better than my experiences with some other bands, I guess. This is one of those stealthier ones that draws you in just enough to hope that there might be at least one or two decent tracks somewhere along the line, but it just gets worse and worse the more you listen until, next thing you know, you’re somewhere in the middle of “Darling It’s Alright” and it suddenly occurs to you (or in this case, me) that what you’re listening to is fucking yacht rock. I can sincerely state that there were a couple of instances in which I spaced out momentarily and then suddenly thought “Why the hell am I listening to the Doobie Brothers?” Most of the songs on It’ll Be Better would be right at home in a Weekend at Bernie’s movie. The synths (yes, there are synths) in the third song, “For Days,” are so straight out of “Sussudio” that Phil Collins could probably sue this guy if it were actually worth his time to do so.
As for the subject matter, all the songs seem to be about this guy admitting to some girl that he fucked up but that if she just gives him another chance he totally won’t be a dickhead anymore. Unfortunately, he’ll still probably be making music like this. A word of advice to whoever is the target of Beavis Cave’s incessant pleas for forgiveness: Get a new phone number (and maybe a restraining order as well).
Honestly, it’s kind of hard for me to knock this album, because for what it is — music for middle-aged white guys who wear Dockers, drive Audis and ask their doctors about once a day Cialis — I guess it fills that niche effectively. If Kenny Loggins is just a little too heavy for your tastes, then I’ll wholeheartedly recommend killing yourself checking out Francis and the Lights. I just can’t help but wonder what would possess anyone saddled with the unfortunate responsibility of promoting this insipid crap to send a promo copy to a website that uses an Axl Rose rating system in its reviews.
Simply put, if you read Buddyhead with any regularity, avoid this record at all costs, despite the incredible allure of its cover. On the other hand, if you read the Wall Street Journal, have been to Aruba within the last year, and think the E*TRADE baby commercials are hilarious, why the fuck are you reading this?
Edit: It’s been brought to my attention that there’s actually a video for “Darling It’s Alright.” Christ.