Monday, June 5th, 2017

Francis & the Lights ft. Chance the Rapper – May I Have This Dance

Take a chance, take a chance, take a chance…


[Video]
[6.67]

Thomas Inskeep: Holy shit, this is the greatest Peter Gabriel record of the last 25 years; the fact that it’s not actually by Gabriel himself is largely irrelevant. Not only does Francis sound almost identical to PG vocally, “May I Have This Dance” has his experimental pop formula down to the last molecule. Chance sounds perfectly in place here (as opposed to, say, that DJ Khaled single, which I’m sad will be some folks’ first introduction to him) as well. What an unexpected treat.
[8]

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Francis aims for Peter Gabriel-informed uplift and comes out with something trite and mawkish. While this remix certainly benefits from Chance’s presence, Francis is increasingly insipid in comparison. Even then, I’m skeptical that Chance only sounds palatable here because of his track record in exuding sincerity; he certainly isn’t doing anything interesting on this record. And thus it’s hard to hear “May I Have This Dance” without feeling a strong urge to just turn on one of the quieter cuts from Coloring Book
[4]

Alfred Soto: Peter Gabriel would never sing something as crazy as “I love you,” even if he’d written a valentine for his daughter, for which he got some slack during the days when he applied helmet makeup to his face. Chance, afflicted with a terminal case of the cutes, does his crinkled gosh-darn schtick. Despite the punctuative electronic stutters, “May I Have this Dance” revels in its mawkishness.
[4]

Maxwell Cavaseno: The post-808s work of Kanye always had an edge of Phil Collins-like aplomb, and so as more pale-faced musicians such as fun. and Francis & the Lights worked with that style, it was no wonder that the end results tend to a feel not unlike that or Peter Gabriel. In fact “May I Have This Dance” sounds like “In Your Eyes” if it was written by a dude with an “aw shucks” hands-in-coat-pocket beta-male penchant for infuriating levels of passive aggression, and a fondness for the non-rap interludes on MBDTF. Arguably the only way to get that made into a worse moment? Find the rap version of that, ol’ Chano, deliberate master of the faux-timidity as humility, and have him mumble giggle for a whole verse. It’s the sonic equivalent of your fake-deep friends who try to be bashful to admit they have nothing worthwhile to say, and don’t want you in on the truth. Now they have a record for their vibe.
[4]

Stephen Eisermann: I recently told my colleague that I hadn’t heard a truly romantic song in a long time. It was a quick, passing thought as she discussed how difficult it was to find a song to use for the first dance at her wedding. DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT A “FIRST DANCE” TYPE OF SONG. Here, however, Francis & the Lights has created a dream sequence, or movie scene, or even climactic chapter in a book, where one person is begging for the affection and love they’ve lost, and it’s riveting. The Afro-beat frames the whole song, but the combination of the powerful synths and Francis’s delivery, especially in the chorus, creates a sense of urgency, passion, and a good kind of desperation. The lyrics are bare bones, yes, but they set just enough of a foundation to give Francis the opportunity to sell this romantic vision. By the time Chance comes in, I’m sold, and he makes me fall further in love through his natural delivery of his admittedly whimsical verse. This is someone I would let back in to the bed, regardless of what was done.
[9]

Hannah Jocelyn: Fraaaaancis’s original version — along with the accompanying album — was joyous and quirky, but felt rushed and not quite the breakthrough anyone involved was hoping for. This remix, on the other hand feels more fleshed-out even if it’s close to the same song. The difference is mostly because of the guest; Chance the Endearing Crooner delivers a lovely verse about his baby daughter that recontextualizes the meaning of the song. “Let me spin and excite you” becomes more meaningful when it’s about a young child instead of a lover, and the line about the sins of his parents is given real stakes. Even if you found the album disappointing, give Francis a Chance and you might be surprised. (That was corny, but Chano and Francis are nothing if not unabashedly corny and sweet. It’s why this song ultimately succeeds.)
[7]

Jonathan Bradley: Francis and Chance match one another intuitively on their collaborations, a sympathy illustrated best on the spare little reprise of Hamilton‘s “Dear Theodosia” from that musical’s Mixtape release. On that song, the two absorb the sincerity of a tune about two 18th century fathers and Founders and make “you’ll come of age with our young nation” sound like a prayer for the America of the Revolution then as well as the ongoing revolution today. “May I Have This Dance” is not a song with civic intentions, but it is just as insistent on the inherent worth of sincerity; if it is not entirely extraordinary, that is because it is a modest song in ambition and in structure. Francis, a digitally constructed soul singer informed by Bon Iver and Peter Gabriel, is the glow around Chance, who has a flow that itself risks relinquishing corporeality and becoming spirit. He is also the far more powerful presence of the two, and his diminished role here accentuates the song’s insubstantial elements. It is a composition that sounds always as if it might vanish entirely as it drifts away from us, but it is beautiful and that is something worth holding on to. 
[7]

Will Rivitz: It’s impossible to ignore comparisons between this and “Midnight City.” Like the latter, the former’s neon cuts through a cloudy night sky, brilliant, blisteringly bittersweet, illuminating every one of its synth blips with an empty glow. Chance’s feature, delivered to his daughter in a way which lyrically mostly misses the melancholy mark set by Francis, hits home with its penultimate line “I love you more than your mother.” This feels like longing for love lost, even as the former recipient of that love remains too close; the dance being had is futile, an empty gesture significant only because the asker believes it means more than it does. The genius of M83’s best song is its intense isolation, even in the vibrant cocoon of a place the musician makes glow; “May I Have This Dance” captures the sweet tragedy of that dichotomy almost as well.
[9]

Cassy Gress: So hey, here’s the part where I jump on the last car of the Chance the Rapper train as it’s heading out of the station. Neither Francis nor Chance individually has historically been my thing, but this song has just enough bashfulness and cracking voices on both their parts to make this work. I can imagine them taking turns spinning me around, Francis blushing and intense on “make it up, to, YOU!” and Chance shuffling his sneakers through “one two, one two, always on beat.” And me in a big floofy dress because that’s how these things are supposed to go.
[8]

Reader average: [6.83] (6 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

3 Responses to “Francis & the Lights ft. Chance the Rapper – May I Have This Dance”

  1. Controversy!

  2. Justices Cavaseno and Soto dissent.

  3. New kid on the block Joshua Kim, too!