“We should try again to talk,” Frances Quinlan writes. It’s not just a lyric—it’s a suggestion, a warning, a plea, a wish. This request is woven throughout Likewise, her forthcoming solo album, amidst dramatically shifting motifs. Some are jubilant, some are dreamy and abstract, and a few are sinister, but within each dark void that Quinlan explores, there is a light peering back at her.
Quinlan is a voyaging songwriter. Throughout Likewise, she confronts what confounds her in the hopes that she will come out on the other side with a better sense of what it is to be human. She presents listeners with a complicated, albeit spirited vision of what it could mean to truly engage with another person, to give a small piece of oneself over to someone else without expectation. It’s no easy task, in fact, it’s likely to remain a lifelong effort.
The common thread that leads us through each chapter of Likewise is our narrator’s sincere desire for open dialogue, with both the listeners and the subjects of her songs. But, even when that open dialogue isn’t possible, and there is a missed connection, Quinlan’s tone refrains from being one of despair. The sublime and rollicking “Your Reply” shows Quinlan attempting to engage with tenderness, even when met with a palpable silence. “There can be a one-sidedness to even the most loving and rewarding relationships,” Quinlan says. “We will always have a part of ourselves we can’t or don’t know how to share. There are so many risks involved. Regardless, I think of this song as celebratory. If anything, the speaker is frustrated at coming so close to understanding another person completely, but perhaps only just missing the mark. But still what a gift that is, to come close.”
“I think we often mistakenly interpret love as being a power struggle. You can’t hear any other person but yourself with that structure in place. You get in your own way, you can’t empathize.”
Likewise’s artwork is Quinlan’s own self-portrait, capturing the singer in this specific moment in time, as she stares wide-eyed, both fearful of, and eager to be seen. But she’s ready to look directly into the darkness of the abyss, find the light and make the jump for human connection. “You don’t realize what you’re cheating other people out of by not being honest. I struggle with it, I’m sure I always will. We are torn between our love and our shame. But I think at least part of that comes from a desire to be better. That is a noble drive, one that makes me hopeful when I consider the possible future.”
Put simply: “We should try again to talk.”For tour dates and more visit: francesquinlan.com/