Just for Us
Blink once, blink twice, it’s morning, the light peers through a window pouring color on your face—and you have something to believe in again. Just for Us is Francis and the Light’s newest record and third LP overall; this hopeful, intimate, and non-apologetic album couldn’t have arrived at a more appropriate time than at the birth of the New Year. With themes circling the horrors of time passing, the hope of new days, and the pleasure of the moment, Just for Us hits home for the parts in all of us that look back, look forward, and look to now.
And, if I’m being frank, some of these tracks just TEAR IT UP (See track 5).
After gaining some momentum on his second LP Farwell, Starlite! Francis and the Lights became a coffee shop/artsy retail store/super hip bar staple on the surround sound speakers. His unique synth riffs, killer features (Bon Iver, Kanye West, to name drop a little) and fun experimentation with 808s (and lowkey with heartbreaks, lets get real) made him the perfect combination of smart, fun, and feels. Just for Us doesn’t let up on any of these fronts. Tracks like Back in Time and Scream so Loud cover his smart angle because of their interesting vocal melodies, overlapping synth riffs and double-time to half-speed fluctuating drum hits. Tear it Up and Just for Us cover fun 10x over with the high energy hooks that fans have come to love from Francis in older tracks like I Want You To Shake and Friends, both off of Farewell, Starlite! As far as feels go though, Just for Us (Feat. Bon Iver) has the upper hand to the previous projects we’ve seen from Francis. Its obvious that 2017 was a heavy year for the boy; tracks like Breaking Up and Never Back drip nostalgia in that fatal combination of wanting to go back and not knowing if what’s next will ever be better. But not to dwell on the past, in the ever pressing momentum of life as we all live it, Francis ends the album with an anthem to the present; Cruise invites indulgence over stipulation, progress over perfection, and movement over stagnation. “We’ll all just cruise” seems to be Francis’ hopeful motto for the world moving past years like 2017, moving on from what was and moving on from a life of stalemates into new mornings, even when we “never thought we’d see the light again.”
Because we’ve seen Francis and the Lights work so deeply with heavy-hitter production collabs (Drake, Frank Ocean, and Chance the Rapper to name drop a little bit more), Just for Us is a refreshing return back to Francis himself. The essence of what makes FATL what he is isn’t buried under flashy features or distracting production, his efforts in this album unveil a solo pop artist making music like no one else on his radar. This album, although less performative, highlights Francis’ lyrical abilities and mixing talent and gives fans an authentic look into his world, into an album that few hands but his have touched; a love letter to the music itself.