In this social media age, a mature musical figure such as Frank Santini should already have disappeared into obscurity, no longer fashionable. In recent months though, Santini has released quite a few singles showing that he hasn’t lost his knack for penning classic hook-laden songs. There is nothing flashy. Its pure distilled pop hooks from another era; all finely-honed verse-chorus-verse. Just because it’s 2017, Frank isn’t suddenly going to lose his shit and start exploring dissonance or dance beats. Frank Santini is not trying to win awards for originality, he is attempting to keep alive a genre that had its last mainstream bastion in the late Roy Orbison.
His songwriting is totally vindicated by focusing on those saccharine 60’s pop hooks. It’s the sort of writing where you can tell within the first twenty seconds that a song is going to stick around for weeks within your mind space.
His latest track “We Are One” epitomizes the quality of that songwriting with its chiming, jangly guitars, and targets the endorphins faster than a hit of nicotine. There isn’t a paucity of chords or vocal notes to explore within Santini’s brand of song writing. Understated gems are littered throughout his catalog.
Frank Santini’s style of sugar-coated, guitar and piano-driven pop is immune to the fads that result from being steered by record labels that only look at listener demographics and habits. His sound is raw, homemade, and typically equated with skinny ties and stovepipe trousers that show plenty of sock at the bottom.
There is a distinct abundance of melody, a refusal for instrumental innovation (because after all, good music died in 1969), and endlessly lovelorn lyrical fixations cooed with heartfelt candor. The chiming piano chords and sturdy percussion of “We Are One” resurrect the appeal of pop and rock n’ roll’s golden age.
That appeal stems in large part from Santini’s use of his voice. Age has roughened the edges a bit, so when he pulls off the winsome romance croon effectively, his vocals retain their charm, but with an added melancholic rasp. Above all, the music feels much more intentional, and therefore, more substantial.
Once again, Frank Santini’s influences come through clearly here, while the music remains distinctively and charmingly his own on “We Are One”. An essential retro-pop artist, if only for the fact that having someone else document personal experiences so effectively can provide much needed medicine indeed.