Sometimes when you want cake, you settle for a cookie. That’s my reaction to Frances England‘s new six-song EP, Honey. It’s a teaser that leaves you wanting more, a one-sentence answer to a question that required a lengthy explanation. But in a way, we should feel relieved that Frances has produced these soothing tracks to address children and families who are stuck in a pandemic.
Some of the songs are reimagined versions of past recordings, such as “Daddy-O” from Fascinating Creatures and “Red Balloon” from Mind of My Own. Coronavirus has required all of us to step up and change the way we view the world. And Frances is challenging herself to reinterpret her music with new arrangements.
The new song “Glue” addresses just how stuck we are in our homes, our pods, our self-determined communities by worldwide health concerns. Frances is inviting fans and families to record and share their own home videos demonstrating who they’ve been joyfully “stuck” with in 2020—send submissions to her website. “Daddy-O” (also from Fascinating Creatures) takes on additional depth and meaning, as many children look to their adults to lead by example, keeping them entertained as well as safe and sound.
The San Francisco-based England originally recorded Fascinating Creatures in 2006 as a school fundraiser for her (now teenaged) son. Within a couple of years, her music had garnered a dedicated following and her second life as a touring children’s musician began in earnest. On Honey, she goes back to almost the beginning, using the lockdown to explore her past and find new significance in her lyrics. The title track is especially prescient coming on the heels of Election Day:
You look like you could use some rest
A little tired, a little stress
Take a load off, and sit back with me
Honey, honey honey
As the bee population dangerously dwindles, it’s important to find sweetness and harmony anywhere, whether it’s for your morning tea or an afternoon drive with rambunctious offspring. Frances England has pollinated a little Honey for all your little busy bees.
Here is the new video for Frances England’s song, “Daddy-O”: