JW Francis‘s new track, “Maybe,” is out now.
JW Francis knows something about change. He was born in Oklahoma, raised in Paris, lived in New York. He’s assisted a Nobel Prize winner, worked as a New York tour guide, and run a Murder Mystery buisness. He’s played shows across the country and around the world, with a different backing band in every city. Yet when Francis quit his job to walk the Appalachian trail this year, he felt the anxiety we all feel when faced with change. His new song “Maybe” embodies that disquietude.
The song’s anxious energy is driven by a haunting standup bass line, played by Cautious Clay’s Dan Pappalardo, and a hectic, hurried drum groove. This rhythmic section is produced through a bit of audio trickery – the drums were recorded at half speed, then played back twice as fast on tape. This gives the song an impatient, driving gait, which yanks the listener breathlessly along. Francis is known primarily for bedroom dream pop, and “Maybe” retains his trademark, irresistibly crunchy lo-fi production. Pairing that fuzzy aesthetic with the song’s hurried pace produces an exciting, rambling sound.
“Maybe” is quite a ride – full of wild vocal embellishments, blaring instrumentation, and rumbling drum fills – but at its core the song returns again and again to a deeply relatable refrain. JW Francis repeats “but don’t I know that” with increasing frustration. This line acknowledges how intimately the artist knows the anxiety of decision making. However, experience is not always enough. Even though he knows change well, it doesn’t stop him from feeling it, from fearing it. It’s a sentiment that resonates deeply.