It'll Be Better

Francis Farewell Starlite is a smart 28-year-old songwriter in love with Eighties R&B at its slickest, whitest and oddest — he sings a little like Peter Gabriel and mixes cutting jazz-piano chords and clever pop constructions like Steely Dan. That sensibility has earned him production work with Drake, and on his full-length debut, Starlite turns his faith in catchy tunes into a series of studies on the persuasive power of pop itself. On "Tap the Phone," he imagines getting through to an ex by bugging her phone and writing hit songs. On "Get in the Car," he's a sleazy manager, rolling up on a reluctant ingénue and delivering the line "You could be bigger than Madonna," with creepy sincerity.

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