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Hop Along's Frances Quinlan Announces First Album Under Own Name, Shares 'Rare Thing'

The first single from Frances Quinlan's <em>Likewise</em> explores a dream she had about her niece, an infant at the time.
Julia Khorosilov
Courtesy of the artist
The first single from Frances Quinlan's Likewise explores a dream she had about her niece, an infant at the time.

For the past decade, Frances Quinlan has built a reputation as an expertly narrative songwriter and a peerless singer in the indie-rock world with her band, Hop Along. (The band is responsible for one of NPR Music's best albums of 2018 and one of our favorite songs of 2015; we also included "Tibetan Pop Stars" on the 200 Greatest Songs By 21st Century Women.)

Today, Quinlan announces her debut solo album, Likewise, recorded over the course of a year with Hop Along bandmate Joe Reinhart. While Hop Along started out as a solo project, Likewise — due out Jan. 31 — is Quinlan's first album under her own name.

"Rare Thing," the adventurous first single from Likewise, explores a dream Quinlan had about her niece, an infant at the time. "My love, in the dream / you were already speaking," the song opens. Quinlan's songs often excel at encompassing multiple perspectives; in "Rare Thing" she quickly changes course: "Come to think of it," she sings later, "the dream / was a nightmare." But dream or nightmare, at the center of the song remains a complicated kind of tenderness: "I know there is / love that doesn't have to do with / taking something / from somebody." She repeats the line throughout the song, winding her voice around the words a little differently each time, as if trying to unravel what it means to care for yourself and others with generosity.

Likewise is out Jan. 31 via Saddle Creek.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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