JANE FRANK | THE BIG SQUEEZE | S/R | DEC. 14TH, 2018
“I asked her how to write a song,” Boston-based musician Jane Frank recalls.
Frank interviewed Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley when the former was a reporter for her college newspaper. Frank was thinking about becoming a songwriter herself – she had been writing her whole life – journals, stories, and now journalism – but the process of songwriting baffled her.
Fortunately, Frank figured it out.
Jane Frank’s upcoming debut album The Big Squeeze (out Dec. 14th) is comprised of gutsy, autobiographical songs with influences that range from the 1950s (Buddy Holly), the 70s (Blondie), into the 90s with Weezer, and all the way up to the indie rock surge with the aforementioned Rilo Kiley.
Add in Frank’s musical theater background, and The Big Squeeze may seem like a scattered amalgam of styles and influences on the page, but when heard, outlines a unique, memorable voice and fun style that is all Frank’s.
“There’s a pop-punk song, an R&B-inspired song, a waltz with a beat, some synth. It’s all there,” she explains.
The album’s title track “The Big Squeeze” is about “finding your own dignity, strength, resilience, and peace. You hold on to that wisdom, that sanity, and use it to keep going forward.”
Another track, “Goldeneye,” makes it clear that Frank believes that it’s just as important to be silly in life as it is to be serious.
“It’s a tribute and trip down memory lane to the innocence of youth, and not without acknowledging one of the greatest video games ever on N-64,” she says. “I got my ass kicked, but that game was the shit!”
Later, on the album’s first single “Practical Jackets,” Frank sings, “I hate all your practical jackets, Dress like you’re 40 when you’re only 37.” It’s essentially a quirky, spastic, but still solidly rhythmic, toe-tapping indie rock version of a dis track.
“‘Practical Jackets’ is about when you’re heartbroken, but you’re still in love, and you’re so mad, but since you’re in love, you want to hate the person, but you can’t, so you just act shallow and petty instead.”
Ironically, actually admitting you’re pissed, and acting shallow and petty, is a sign that the pissed person isn’t so shallow and petty at all. It’s a centered quality that is at the heart of The Big Squeeze, and in Frank’s life.
“I’m training to be a licensed counselor, so that I can help people live healthier, happier lives,” she explains of her recent decision to switch careers from government administration to social work. “I want to help people to learn to love their lives, and to create lives that they love. We’re alive. We should celebrate that.”
It’s an optimistic attitude that Frank maintains in the face of recent tragedy. Frank dedicates The Big Squeeze to her sister, Christina, who passed in 2018, and whose battle with addiction is something Frank would like to share as part of her aspiration to help others.
“The country is in crisis, and grieving this sort of loss is so hard because of the stigma affecting opioid addicts and their families,” she explains.
Recalling that first year of creation following her fateful interview with Jenny Lewis, Frank remembers, “I bought a guitar, taught myself some chords, and wrote a lot of songs.” Frank later spent seven years developing those songs, show, and sound in San Francisco – she grew up in Illinois, Florida, and Texas, in addition to a short stint in Seattle, which inspired the album’s opening cut, “Washington” – before her recent jump to Beantown.
“Through all the moving around, music has been such a huge part of my journey and healing,” she concludes. “Even when I’m not making music, I’m listening and am constantly inspired or consoled.”
And that’s how you write a song.
The Big Squeeze, the debut album by Jane Frank, arrives on Dec. 14th, preceded by the single and music video, “Practical Jackets”. The album was produced by Tommy P. at 11th Ave. Records in San Francisco, and features Bay Area notables, Ben Peterson of Trace Repeat on Drums, and Suzanne Yada aka Little Spiral on Piano and Violin.