Miles Francis has today released their new video for the track titled ‘Popular’. Taking somewhat the balance between the ego, superego, and the id, Miles filters that through the narcissistic tendencies of social media and modern culture and combines them as musical bookends with this and their previous single, ‘Service’. With ‘Popular’, Miles explores the modern notion of taking people from the top of the mountain and throwing them in the gutter, and vice-versa. It is simply the way things are. Or is it that easy accessibility to becoming famous in your own right with a simple uploading of a video or a Facebook rant. Is this what its become? Most likely. But the originality of this song is what gets me and makes a smile appear on my face. Because some things aren’t dead yet. Like originality.
Featuring Lizzie Loveless and Lou Tides (aka Lizzie and Teeny Lieberson, formerly of TEEN) on background vocals, the track resulted from a forthcoming project interrogating masculinity, male conditioning, and their own gender identity. About “Popular,” Francis explains: “Everyone indulges in having an ego and wanting to be recognized, but men seem particularly bent on the power element — whether it’s taking up space in a room or leading a country.” To celebrate the release, Francis announced they will be taking to the streets of New York today for live performances on a flatbed truck – full schedule for “Popularalooza” HERE. Francis will also be performing a hometown show at Our Wicked Lady on September 15 for the Cornelia Street Sessions Afrobeat Revue plus Lollise – tickets HERE benefiting Trans Asylias.
“Popular” is the vibrant continuation of “Service,” Francis’ alt-pop romp exploring the dark side of devotion from earlier this year – complete with mesmerizing boy band clone choreography that mirrors Miles’ own recording process in quarantine. The polymathic artist is also known for collaborating with the likes of Angélique Kidjo, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, and Arcade Fire’s Will Butler, also earning praise from the likes of FADER, Stereogum, KCRW and beyond for their solo work on 2018’s Swimmers EP.
Naming shapeshifters like Prince and David Bowie among their essential touchstones along with Afrobeat music, Francis ultimately alchemizes those inspirations with their childhood obsession with early 2000’s boy bands. The result is a highly percussive form of art-pop, both lavishly orchestrated and visceral in impact. “I grew up with Backstreet Boys posters lining my bedroom walls, floor to ceiling. That era of music is dear to my heart, but upon closer look those songs are ridden with anxiety, songs about male adolescence written by grown men. That anxiety and impulsiveness is the place from which ‘Popular’ grows out from.”
Francis matches their incisive observations with a direct outpouring of feeling and, in many cases, fantastically offbeat humor. On “Service,” they deliver a pitch-perfect send-up of the over-the-top obsequiousness that pervades countless classic boy-band songs (“There’s this very impulsive offering of help and support, in a way that makes you wonder if there’s some other motive that’s not named in the lyrics,” Francis notes). On “Popular,” that seemingly supportive character is turned into a monster. “It’s my own little Jekyll and Hyde,” Francis adds. “One minute, it’s ‘I’ll do anything for you’ – the next minute, it’s ‘I don’t care for you.'” The music reflects that shift, as “Popular” barrels forward from the first drumstick count-in to the last guitar lick. “I am interested in man’s two-faced-ness – our ability to show one thing to the world and someone completely different in private.”
“Popular” and “Service” are, at their core, about ego. “Power is essential to the male ego. That ego is a house of cards, of course, threatened by even the slightest loss of control. These songs and videos are meant to illustrate that delicate balance between control and disarray.”
About Miles Francis
Polymathic artist Miles Francis is already known amongst musicians as one of the best kept secrets of the NYC music scene. Since they started playing – first the drums at 6, then guitar, bass, keyboards, other percussion – they have been an audiophile of the highest order.
As a working musician, Miles has collaborated and performed with Sharon Jones, Amber Mark, Angelique Kidjo, Allen Toussaint, Tunde Adebimpe (TV on the Radio) and many others; toured the world with Will Butler (Arcade Fire), Antibalas, and EMEFE; and appeared on shows like Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and The Late Show with David Letterman. Following 2018’s Swimmers EP, Francis has released two new singles in 2021 – “Service” & “Popular” – from a project to be announced later this year.