A rusty string groove comes slithering through the silence and penetrates our speakers with a rebellious sway. It’s soon joined by a sultry croon from Francine Honey, who has built up quite the reputation for her intriguing style of countrified serenading, and as the rhythm grows too strong to be stifled, we’re lost in the swaggering swing of “Honey,” just one of eleven all new songs on the Canadian songwriter’s To Be Continued… LP, which is out and available now. Driven by a rambunctious urgency that jolts “Open Road,” “Stay” and the powerhouse “Shacked-up Sweetie” with a fiery zing, Honey’s latest album waste no time in grabbing our attention and whisking us away on a stunningly melodic thrill ride.
The successful single “Shacked-up Sweetie” has arguably been one of the biggest reasons why critics and audiences have gravitated towards To Be Continued… as quickly as we have, and it only takes a cursory viewing of the song’s fun-loving music video to see precisely why. Cinematically shot and delivering the same muscular musicality as we find in the track’s original form on the album, the video takes us to a wedding that falls into blissful bedlam to the tune of the song, inviting us to partake in the swinging along with the bride and groom. The poppy construction of the single doesn’t overshadow the intricacies within the music, and the same can be said of the video as well.
OFFICAL VIDEO “SHACKED UP SWEETIE” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGaej_weUzM
Lyrically, I think that “Mamas Take Bad Dreams Away,” “Marilyn,” “To Be Continued” and “Space” are among the very best songs that Francine Honey has ever recorded in or out of the studio. Her emotional execution dispels the very notion of enigmas glossing over her warm, earnest poetry, and though she employs a prose that is steeped in more of an American folk/rock sound, it doesn’t water down the country vibe of the music. I was expecting a lot out of To Be Continued…, but I could have never guessed how wide-ranging an effort this LP would ultimately be.
In certain songs, such as “Open Road,” “Snowflakes on My Eyelashes” and “I Wish,” I think that the music tells a much bigger story than the words do. Though it’s an ambitious approach to songwriting that isn’t very typical among country musicians, Honey has clearly become quite adept at translating unequivocal emotions that are impossible to articulate into fluid melodies, and she exploits her new talent for everything its worth in To Be Continued…. Anyone who has followed her through more eclectic recordings like An Ordinary Woman (In Studio) will notice a marked improvement in her skillset here, no matter what angle you analyze her songcraft from.
Jam-packed with incredible tonality, original style and immense creative depth that has only begun to be explored by its chief composer and mastermind, To Be Continued… is everything that I had wanted from a new Francine Honey album and then some. I would actually recommend this record as a good jumping-off point for listeners who are unfamiliar with her sound and are interested in getting to know her artistry, as it’s by far her most complete and robustly arranged LP to date. Make no mistake about it – Honey is in the primetime now, and this is her very best work yet.