It is 2018, and Michael Franks is celebrating 45 years as a recording artist.
45 years? Wow! Some people are just happy to be alive for 45 years.
Franks will also release his 18th studio album, The Music In My Head. It drops on June 8th, and after listening to it from start-to-finish, I will predict that The Music In My Head will be a summer soundtrack for many of his fans.
In an era where artists release single after single, it is refreshing to listen to an album, a project that has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Review – Michael Franks “The Music In My Head”
The set starts with As Long As We’re Both Together. I was immediately hooked on the vocal arrangement. It seems so nonchalant….almost like he was freestyling the entire song. But with lyrics like, “Sometimes the wind tries to break us, Sometimes we walk right into friendly fire, But our desire won’t forsake us, As long as we’re both together,” it is evident that a professional is at work here.
There is also an excellent guitar solo from Chuck Loeb, one of his last recordings.
Suddenly Sci-Fi is up next. Fun Fact: Franks loves science fiction novels. After reading a novel from Philip K. Dick, he had a dream about the book. This song is his interpretation of that dream. Once again, the guitars are a standout here, this time with David Spinozza on electric guitar and Romero Lubambo on acoustic rhythm guitar.
How many songwriters can take a science fiction story idea and turn it into a groovy Brazilian track?
Franks gets a little funky with The Idea Of A Tree. I was immediately hooked on the bassline, and with Franks’ one of a kind arrangement, this is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The track sounds like a late night jam session, and anyone who is a fan would have loved to be a fly on the wall for that recording session.
In Bluebird Blue, Franks uses the imagery of birds and flight to describe his feelings for his love. Musically, this is a standout track even though it is simple at it’s core.
To Spend The Day With You captures the simplicity of just wanting to spend some time with another. Once again, the instrumentation is off the charts, from the piano solo to the smooth guitars. You will want to have a glass of wine as you listen to this track.
I find Bebop Headshop to be one of those “conventional jazz” tracks. Franks reminisces about going to a club and listening to the jazz band do their thing. The song is a little melancholy as many of those traditional jazz joints do not exist anymore. The landscape of music has definitely changed and Franks does his part to help folks remember the time.
I dig the subtlety of Where You Hid The Truth. The band’s laid back approach suits the song well, as it allows the listener to focus on the story. There is a message in the music for those who listen, and we all can understand the lesson conveyed here.
Up next is the title track, The Music In My Head. Franks once again shows how nature can inspire us. If you take a moment to just pay attention to your surroundings, you may just find that your muse was right in front of you all along.
In Candleglow, Franks describes how technology has really taken over, and maybe we should just keep it simple once in a while….Instead of the light from your devices, maybe illuminate the room with the Candleglow.
The project concludes with Waterfall, a mellow groove where Franks explains that even something as powerful as a waterfall can be stripped down to it’s infancy….the raindrop.
Once you heat Frank’s unmistakable voice on that first track, you will want to keep it going and take in all of the stories that he has to offer.
You can listen to The Music In My Head in its entirety on June 8th