Sean Franks - Guy Like Me (2008)

Sean Franks
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In a way, Sean Franks is nothing like his father, the legendary vocalist Michael Franks. Where the elder Franks' had a Chet Baker vibe that gave his soft tenor that cool and detached feel even while performing a song like "One Bad Habit," Sean Franks often scrapes the upper reaches of the tenor range and that gives many of the songs on Guy Like Me a feel of urgency.

However, Father and son are alike in one respect: Both appear to put a special emphasis on songwriting. Sean Franks wrote or co-wrote 11 of the 12 tracks on Guy Like Me. The lone exception is his cover of the Bob Marley classic "Could You Be Loved." At it's best, Franks' songwriting is the real strength of Guy Like Me. Franks is complemented by a solid band that lays down some head-nodding melodies. That is the case on the album's three standout songs, "I'm Living Without Your Love," "Special" and "Feelin' You."

In a way, Sean Franks is nothing like his father, the legendary vocalist Michael Franks. Where the elder Franks' had a Chet Baker vibe that gave his soft tenor that cool and detached feel even while performing a song like "One Bad Habit," Sean Franks often scrapes the upper reaches of the tenor range and that gives many of the songs on Guy Like Me a feel of urgency.

However, Father and son are alike in one respect: Both appear to put a special emphasis on songwriting. Sean Franks wrote or co-wrote 11 of the 12 tracks on Guy Like Me. The lone exception is his cover of the Bob Marley classic "Could You Be Loved." At it's best, Franks' songwriting is the real strength of Guy Like Me. Franks is complemented by a solid band that lays down some head-nodding melodies. That is the case on the album's three standout songs, "I'm Living Without Your Love," "Special" and "Feelin' You."

"Feelin' You" is a mid-tempo funky tune on which Franks asks a young lady if she feels as strongly about him as he does about her. He takes a conversational tone that complements the bass driven melody. "Special" has a Caribbean feel, and has Franks asking an old flame a series of questions about her new guy. The lyrics describe regret about missed opportunity and the realization that he let a good thing slip from his hands. "Did he make it feel like heaven/Did he tell you all his dreams/Did it feel just like it did with you and me/Did the love fall down like a raindrop/Did you wish upon a star/Did it taste just like the love we never had, now it's lost/I made this love so special/I promised to love you right/But now you're with another/I think I see the light."

"Living Without Your Love" picks up on the theme Franks addressed in "Special." He just can't move on. Again, this is a funky tune and Franks' high tenor brings urgency to the lyrics. The song's chorus that has the background singers repeating, "I'm living without your love" drives home the daily pain of waking up and having to confront what could be a life changing mistake.

These three songs best represent the Sean Franks style on Guy Like Me. It's not a record for the kids, but fans of Michael Franks might be interested to see how close (or far) the musical apple fell from the tree. Guy Like Me does not break new musical ground, but the solid songwriting and musicianship will like this album a step above many records in the adult/contemporary pop category.

By Howard Dukes

 
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