Album: A New Life
Artist: Amabel Fran
Poet/ vocalist/ instrumentalist/ composer Amabel Fran, in her 2014-released self-penned debut, A New Life, gives us tracks that are as reflective and thought-provoking as they are compelling. Described as a “melting pot of muse”, the album blends hip hop, jazz, R&B, Latin and spoken-word-poetry influences.
|A New Life|
|Dreaming of You|
|Hold On to This|
|Just Tell Me So|
1. Bored Shitless
Amabel Fran’s drawl instantly captivates the listener. The stance and pacing is unique and well structured; the hint of piano complements it. There were parts where I hit pause, just to reflect on the lyrics! There is a depth and sultriness to this track that I would’ve never imagined could go with being “bored shitless”.
2. Counting Seconds
The vocals feel distant, as the “background” tempo takes precedence. The effect is surreal, as the song seems to converge into the two-word hook “Counting Seconds.” It’s impressive, but wears thin compared to the previous track.
3. A New Life
The title track has a slick, coolly detached vibe. It echoes a state of discontent and the want of more. The chorus adds sheen to the track; balancing the spoken-word-poetry-infused grittiness of the rest of the song.
4. Dreaming of You
Set against a rather militaristic beat, Fran sounds lackluster here. The lyrics consequently lose their steam. The pulse of the song evaded me.
5. Hold On To This
This track has beats that feel hypnotic, in a knowing and eerie way… you feel like you’ve been here before. Despite sounding deadpan, Fran expertly captures the feeling of wanting to dwell on maddeningly joyous moments with a loved one, to hold on to it, well. It is distinctively composed, but could’ve been suffused with more life.
6. Just Tell Me So
The opening beats feel similar to that of Dreaming of You, before additional elements of the background score become apparent. The track grows on you. It takes more than the first listen to appreciate the subtle intensity behind Fran’s vocals.
Something feels quieter, though it blares with feelings of confusion, chaos and loneliness. It’s heartbreaking; the extent to which these feelings dominate. There’s so much helplessness that characterizes the track, which the vocals capture. “I’m waiting for freedom/freedom from the prison of your absence.”
8. Ridin’ Easy
The beats stand out here! They are smokier, heavier, and in sync with the rap. Fran sounds in her element; with lyrics that evoke comforting, almost therapeutic imagery.
9. Two Seconds
A faster tempo and catchier hook adds to the appeal of the track. There is a greater diversity in the arrangement, infusing vivacity to the crux of the song.
An idealistic, dramatic and larger-than-life number that wouldn’t be out of place in a musical! The throaty vocals take some getting used to. Once you do, you’re certain to be singing along! It consumes you with the yearnings of the singer, tucked into the elusive construct of “someday”.
Verdict: Uniquely compelling!
Picks of the album: Bored Shitless, A New Life, Two Seconds