If you have ever even once in your life been into artists such as The Cranberries, Meredith Brooks, and especially the legendary Sheryl Crow, then you should already be listening to Hop Along. Though if you find yourself saying “who is Hop Along, and why should I care?” then, allow me to enlighten you.
Hop Along’s lead singer Frances Quinlan has all the qualities of those bold female artists we’ve become so obsessed with over the years–like Hayley Williams and Pink and even legends like Blondie–while also keeping a charm all her own that makes her to stand out in the grayness we find ourselves trapped in with today’s media. Quinlan is constantly working on improving her voice and having her own sound, all while encouraging her band mates to do the same.
Originating in Philadelphia, Hop Along–formerly known as Hop Along, Queen Ansleis–initially began as an acoustic solo project while Quinlan was in her senior year of high school, which eventually led to the release of their 2005 album, “Freshman Year.” Since then, the band has honored the public with a soft and grungy feel that’s difficult to describe as being anything else, but no one’s complaining!
Being an art school graduate, Quinlan has shared that if she wasn’t playing music, then she’d be painting pictures of houses. This simple comparison in and of itself showcases the singer’s artistry so genuinely, as she clearly possesses that “tortured soul” vibe that only the best artists can project. There is a beautiful and unearthly amount of thought and care that goes into all of what this band produces, and it’s not exclusively because of their lead singer; they certainly would not have the same whimsicality and simultaneous solidity and realness that this group of musicians possesses if it weren’t for Quinlan.
The songs put forth by Hop Along have a realness that so much of today’s music tries to avoid. Their album, “Painted Shut,” alone tells stories of boys being hit by their fathers and waitresses regarding their customers: every day scenarios that go far deeper than most choose to realize.
The general phrasing of these songs may seem a little peculiar at times, though this is due to Quinlan’s style of blending stories and songs together and is definitely something we are not about to protest. Hop Along’s music makes you think and listen closely, which is what sets them apart from the computers that do the work for everyone else.
Quinlan screams her lyrics and whispers her stories while the music that plays along reaches for the edge of ultimate intensity and raw authenticity, yet in the midst of it all each song is protected by this shell of gentle control which enables the music to continue to function like the ocean: going from wild to soft while also having that perfect balance and blend that we all need from a good song.
Listening to Hop Along is like reading every book in the library and never losing interest; story after story, you will find that whatever emotion or reaction it triggers and however it goes about the triggering process, you’ll keep wanting to experience it “just one more time,” and that’s what really good music does to the soul.
To give you a little taste of what they’re all about, listen to their song “Well-dressed” from their album “Painted Shut,” and feel free to keep it on repeat, your phone or computer will probably die before you even consider changing the song anyway!