Some of the best pop music is the music that isn't afraid to be honest. Honesty is strongest when it comes straight from the heart, and that's the case for much of English singer Frances' new album. It's a long confession of a record, and you can really feel the messages resonate within you. Frances sings from her soul in Things I've Never Said, baring messages raw and powerfully.
The album begins where most usually end: on a piano ballad. The a cappella intro of 'Don't Worry About Me' brings the album in on an incredibly raw moment. The piano soon kicks in gently, with harmonies building behind Frances' initial vocal line to create a gospel of emotion. It's a message to someone going through a hard time: "Cause if I fall, you'll fall / And if I rise, we rise together / When I smile, you'll smile / And don't worry about me, don't worry about me" speaks true wonders. It could be about any situation you imagine it to be about, but the principle stays the same, and the heartbreaking reassurance will always make you feel safe.
Things I've Never Said is full of emotional songs, often driven by piano. 'Love Me Again' follows the powerful opening track, and instead of offering love, it asks for it. It starts off as a calmer, gentle track but builds up to massive proportions as the entire band comes in to back Frances' roaring vocals. The song reprises its soft part at the end to offer a sweet conclusion to a powerful song. The same is true for 'Drifting,' complete with a pretty melody and a soulful message. 'Cloud 9' brings more sweetness akin to the previous tracks, Frances' voice ringing with a certain jazziness.
There really isn't a song on this album that doesn't have some emotional weight to it. There are plenty of uplifting, poppier songs on this album that still illicit hope and bliss, like the upbeat 'No Matter' and 'Say It Again.' Then there are real heavyhitters like 'Let It Out,' with its nostalgic lyrics and somber chords. 'Grow' is a very pretty track with a powerful lesson. The flow, the mood, everything about this track gives you power. The same is true for 'Sublime,' but it feels more theatrical. The opening sequence dances like a pencil-drawn cartoon innocently moving its way through, building beautifully into an orchestral release that sounds truly explosive and bursts with loads of emotion. Closing track takes the same stark beauty from the intro track and adds some big harmonies and strings into the mix to leave the album off on an incredibly emotional conclusion.
There's a lot of heart and soul in this record, and the messages send both lots of emotions and a lot of revelations. In many ways, Things I've Never Said is a retelling of things Frances wishes she would say, or things she feels deep within her heart that she kept in there. Things I've Never Said is a release that resonates on a personal level with a lot more than her own experiences; every song means something profound. This record really brings a distinct sense of soul you can't find often. It's gorgeous.
Favorite Tracks: Don't Worry About Me, Sublime, The Last Word
Least Favorite Track: Say It Again
Rating: 87 / 100
Buy or listen to Things I've Never Said here: