Today’s Song: The Intimacy of Francis and the Lights’ “May I Have This Dance (remix)”

May I Have This Dance - Francis and the Lights
May I Have This Dance - Francis and the Lights

It seems as though everything Francis Farewell Starlite, leader of project, “Francis and the Lights,” touches turns to gold. Since the beginning of his career, he’s made tremendous waves in the musical community. He’s toured with big artists such as Drake and MGMT, and has collaborated with other big names such as Bon Iver, Kanye West, and, most notably, Chance the Rapper. Francis and the Lights seems to be unstoppable, and the project’s most current release, “May I Have This Dance (remix),” does nothing but add to this building momentum that Starlite has created for Francis and the Lights.

May I Have This Dance (remix) – Francis and the Lights


The song begins with Starlite singing over computer-generated beats and echoes. Starlite sings:

In the ground, we bury
The seeds of a pear tree
All the things we carried
Now we’re down to our bear feet
May I Have This Dance - Francis and the Lights
May I Have This Dance – Francis and the Lights

This opening verse, though simple and serene, immediately builds and takes the listener straight into the large, pulsating chorus.

May I have this dance?
To make it up to you
Can I say something crazy?
I love you
Give me both your hands
To make it up to you
Let me spin and excite you

The form of this song stays the same, as the next verse comes in, simple like the first, leading the listener back into the same pulsating chorus. This back and forth takes the listener on a journey. Though honest, the lyrics are vague, and it almost sounds as though Starlite himself is speaking directly to the listener. This allows the listener fall in love with Starlite as he unwraps his story, in the same way Starlite has fallen in love with for whomever it is he’s written this song. The intimacy of this song only grows stronger with the entrance of Chance’s verse.

May I Have This Dance - Francis and the Lights
May I Have This Dance – Francis and the Lights

Like before, the instrumentation dies down with the new verse. As the chorus calms, simple chords are played on a piano over echoes, and Chance begins to rap to his daughter:

You’ve got your, your mother’s eyes
You’ve got your, grandmother’s ring
You’ve got your daddy’s discernment
Girl, you did your thing

From this point, because the song has taken on the same pattern, tension begins to build. Though listeners expect the chorus to begin again, Chance continues to rap, and the instrumentation remains simple.

Oh give me one more
One, two, one two, always on beat
You must have been born with two right feet
I know you’ve been looking
For something concrete

Chance continues these lines again, only adding to the tension that is building behind him as he raps straight to his daughter – straight to the listener.

I love you more than your mother
More than you love yourself
May I Have This Dance - Francis and the Lights
Chance the Dancer

And finally, the pulsating chorus comes in again, and the song ends with Starlite singing:

Give more one more chance
Let me spin and excite you.

It’s easy for the listener to get lost in the song. With the use of “you,” it’s easy for a listener to feel as though Starlite and Chance are singing/rapping directly to them. This “you” also makes it easier for listeners to relate to the song, as any one person can be assigned to the “you” to whom Starlite is singing.

Though simple, the song is honest, and creates a sense of intimacy that so few artists are capable of creating when writing and performing.

— — — —

May I Have This Dance - Francis and the Lights

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cover © Jake Schreier

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