2010: 15 of the Best. #14 . . .

November 30, 2010

#14: Fran Healy – Holiday

From: Wreckorder
Released: October 5, 2010
Label: WreckordLabel/Rykodisc
Buy it: Here.

I know I spent the last decade getting a little more cynical about Travis as every new album seemed like yet another attempt to rewrite 1999’s seminal The Man Who. The formula usually yielded one or two good tracks on each subsequent album, but also made me all the more frustrated as I would go back and listen to 1997’s Good Feeling and often wonder aloud, “Why can’t they at least try rewriting that one once?” My ever-growing indifference almost caused me to miss an intimate acoustic performance by Fran Healy and Andy Dunlop in Madison last year, but in the end some faint reminder of myself at 17 called out, “You have to go … for me.” So I went. And when Healy performed songs like “Driftwood,” “Turn” and “Writing to Reach You,” I found myself with the same hopeless romantic tinge I had when I was a teenager. Still, as the set progressed into material from 12 Memories and The Boy With No Name, I found myself less interested. Until Healy debuted this track, which proved to be the last of the evening. There was something really magical about it, something very reminiscent of those early Travis tunes I loved so dearly and for months afterward I found myself whistling the tune, even though I had no physical copy of it. Healy rectified that this year by placing the song on his first solo album, Wreckorder, which isn’t really that much of a departure from Travis or the “Let’s try to rewrite The Man Who yet again” formula, but in boasting this song alone (supposedly more about wanting to take a break from Dougie, Andy and Neil than any lovelorn lament), he drew my interest. My criticisms of his post-1999 musical output aside, I can say Mr. Healy is a painfully sweet dude and even if consistency isn’t a strong suit, he’ll still pull one of these out just when you’re losing all hope and completely disarm you. Well done, sir.

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