Album Review: By Nicole

Frankmusik, also known as Vincent Turner, is one of those singers you’ve probably never heard of. He’s an incredibly talented musician who has been a part of the dance-pop and synthpop scene for about five years, and each album he puts out is even better than the next. His last album, Between, was astonishing; filled with amazing vocal ability, incredibly relatable and clever lyrics and music so catchy the songs wouldn’t leave my head for weeks. Naturally, I was expecting something similar – if not better – on his new album, By Nicole. After listening to it, however, I was a bit let down.

There are tracks on By Nicole that rank among his strongest to date and the vocal talent and songwriting is as apparent as ever, but it’s that magic melodic touch that’s missing from the majority of this album. It’s a shame because without those catchy melodies, the album falls a bit flat.

The beginning of the last album blew me away, I came into the beginning of this record with great anticipation. The last album was fast-paced and frenetic, yet melancholic – it worked so well for me. The first three songs of this album, however, are the opposite of the last one. They meander, albeit with quality, but still go nowhere in terms of tempo and melody. Nothing hooked me as a listener.

“Go,” however, is one of the best Frankmusik songs I’ve ever heard. It’s emotional, honest and you can tell that it comes from a place very close and very real to Turner. The chorus is gut-wrenching with a melody that is out of this world. This one is a must-listen, especially if you’re new to Frankmusik.

“Crash and Burn,” which features Natasha Bedingfield, is another must-listen. The song has a great, subtle buildup followed by an explosive chorus that hooks you right from the start. Bedingfield is a strong singer, and she complements Frankmusik’s vocals very well. They crafted a great song together that I thoroughly enjoyed.

After a certain point, there are songs that have great potential, but perhaps not through my ears. Songs like “Uh Oh,” “Stabilizher” and “Fled” all have strong rhythms and melodies that are right on the brink of being great, but never quite got there for me. Despite my opinions, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen. There’s a lot of potential for other listeners.

“Ephemeral Summer” and “Dear Nicole” are songs that finish the record off, and they starkly contrast the electric pop sound of the other tracks. Both tracks are slower ballads and use great atmosphere and texture to draw you in. I would definitely recommend both, though they certainly aren’t the strongest on the album.

The one thing I have to say about the album is this: I believe in Frankmusik. His emotion and passion is so palpable in every one of these songs that I have a hard time giving it a low rating. On this album, he has talent, lyrics and heart. Even though he slowed the pace from his last album, that’s fine with me. When a melody is weak, you lose something special. That’s what gives songs their sticking power.

Frankmusik is a talented singer and musician nonetheless, and his music deserves to be heard. If you’re looking for a place to start, I wouldn’t recommend this album. Begin with Between, where you’ll find Frankmusik’s melodic and vocal genius.