England Channels Johnson, Jones On Fun New LP

Courtesy:  Frances England Music

Courtesy: Frances England Music

Frances England’s new album, Blink of an Eye is a good listen for anyone that is a fan of Jack Johnson and Norah Jones.  For those not familiar with either of these artists’ musical or vocal styling, the artwork on England’s new album is a fitting description and companion to both her own material and that of Johnson and even Jones.  For those unfamiliar with the work of either artist, the album’s inner artwork serves as a good visual of the music’s general feel.   The album’s inner artwork presents a beach scene that includes two young boys running along the unnamed beach in question.  The waves are gently coming in and the sun is shining.  The songs culled for the album are very much in that very vein.  This is evident from the album’s title track and opener.

‘Blink of an Eye’ works perfectly with the artwork of England’s new album both with its musical side and the imagery presented lyrically.  The gentle acoustic guitar and the auxiliary percussion combine with England’s lyrics to make a song that instantly conjures thoughts of relaxing on the beach at night, taking in everything around one’s self.  She sings of looking up at the stars, seeing something flying in the night sky just below Orion’s Belt in the blink of an eye.  There is also mention of seeing a mother bird with her babies as they learned to fly.  On the surface, this is just an easy going song about nature.  But on a deeper level—in this critic’s own view—the mention of noticing things “in the blink of an eye” and the joy of doing so is more an emphasis on appreciating the little things in life; those things that we see but to which we choose to give only a passing thought.  Appreciating these little things serves to make our lives happier and more meaningful.  Such a revelation makes ‘Blink of an Eye’ a fitting and fun opener for this record.

Much of the material on Blink of an Eye is similar stylistically speaking, to the album’s opener.  Though there is at least a trio of pieces that stands out from the rest of the album’s material.  Those songs come in the form of ‘Move Like Saturday Night’, ‘Bicycle Built for 2’ and ‘The Sun Will Shine Again.’  The latter pair of the trio has far more poppy sound than the prior.  Though that doesn’t make ‘Move Like Saturday Night’ any less enjoyable than the latter songs noted here.  This song is such a fun piece because it is a percussion-centric piece.  As any music lover knows, drums and percussion are the heart of any song, regardless of genre and sub-genre.  It’s the drums and percussion of any song that will get listeners moving and dancing.  The drums and percussion in this song will in fact have listeners of any age “ready to move light Saturday night” as Mrs. England sings.  It’s just one more positive to this already fun album for the whole family.

The more poppy ‘Bicycle Built for 2’ and ‘The Sun Will Shine Again’ are just as enjoyable as ‘Blink of an Eye’ and ‘Move Like Saturday Night.’  They are a nice change of pace from the more laid back material that populates the majority of the album.  The drums and the keyboard on this modern take on the children’s classic are a nice touch.  They really help to drive the song and give it a little bit of a kick.  The call and response between England and guest vocalist Molly Ledford is a nice added touch, to the song, too.  All three come together to make this song one of the album’s most standout moments.  ‘The Sun Will Shine Again’ is just as fun as the previously mentioned songs because it bears more of a poppy vibe than other pieces on the album.  The poppy feel of the song is only part of what makes this another standout moment.  The song’s lyrical side puts it over the top.  It’s a song that reminds listeners that no matter how bad things might get, things can and will get better.  The song’s music expertly serves as a companion to its lyrics, making a song that speaks to listeners like a close friend or parent as England sings, “If you get to feeling down and out/Go ahead and scream/Go ahead and shout/Do what you do to shake that off/Of you/Cause you belong with the best/You are the one/That lets the rest of us know/That the sun will shine again.”  If this doesn’t motivate a person and generate even the slightest of smiles on a listener’s face, then said person needs to be checked for a pulse.  The world is in turmoil right now.  Children are dying and suffering terrible psychological damage as a result of bullying from one another.  So this song is a perfect fit for listeners of any age especially in the current world climate. 

The songs examined here are all excellent additions to this new album.  There are seven more tracks from which listeners can choose as their favorite on this record.  England doesn’t have any shows planned right now at which audiences can hear her music.  But fans can go online right now and check out the trailer for her new album to get a feel of what to expect.  Audiences can check it out now on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SBcWcGQy7I.  Audiences can also keep up with all of the latest news and tour information from Frances England when she announces new dates online at http://www.facebook.com/Frances-England/55733054744 and http://www.francesengland.com

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.   

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