Album Review: Frances Forever “Lockjaw”

A banner that depicts a view under a bed. Red bed sheets hover over a brown floor. Under, there is a sock, a ball of yarn and a snail. In white text are the words: "Lockjaw, Frances Forever"
Graphics by Sarah Tarlin

By Ella Mastroianni, Blog Assistant

Artist: Frances Forever

Album: Lockjaw

For fans of: Chloe Moriondo, Claud, mxmtoon 

Favorite songs: “Mr. Man,” “Too Soft,” “Troll”


Frances Forever, an artist from the Boston area, piqued the interest of the whole world (and galaxy) with their 2020 single “space girl.” The sweet and silly song captured the hearts of not only the queer community (of which Frances is a part of) but every internet user for quite some time. Since that single, Frances signed with Mom+Pop records, but other than a few songs in 2021 and a collaboration with similarly colorful-haired indie darling Tessa Violet, there haven’t been any new releases from Frances… until now.

On June 28th, Frances Forever released their debut album, Lockjaw, a perfect combination of teenagedom and heart. And it comes with even more references to space (such as with the final track “Jupiter”). It is fantastical, autobiographical, and may just convince listeners that they want to live the rest of their lives as a troll.



For anyone who has ever listened to artists in the indie-queer-pop genre such as Cavetown, mxmtoon and Chloe Moriondo, Lockjaw might sound familiar. It has the anticipated pretty lyricism and ukulele sound the genre is known for. However, by stretching conventions, it also utilizes this genre as a strength. Frances gives the album something that makes it all its own… whether that something be unexpected elements of punk or some sick guitar solos. 

The album opens with “Stuck,” which at first wasn’t a song I thought I’d return to much. But, funnily enough, it became the one that got stuck in my head the quickest. On reflection, it frames the entire album expertly. The song is a humorous introduction to Frances if you are unfamiliar with their work (they say to themself, “Oh my god, shut up”). The repetitive lyrics set the stage: “I'm stuck inside my brain.” From this song, the listener is placed in Frances’s head, and spoiler alert, since “Time's an illusion” listeners should prepare to dip into the past. 



Lockjaw is an offering for queer youth. In a Spotify video, Frances said they “like to write the music [they] needed as a young queer person [growing up]” and that comes through in every track of the album. Some lyrics place the listener back in high school, with lockers, classes and crushes. 

Specifically, the song “Monika Gives Me Lockjaw” eloquently captures the experience of having a first queer crush. It feels like it could have been released in the early 2000s had the world been a different, more queer-friendly place. Alas, the world had to wait until 2024 for Frances Forever’s headbanger of a song, but it was a wait well worth it. For the pop-punk fans, go to around the 2-minute mark where Frances says, “Can hear a voice from thе sidewalk, tried your window and it was unlocked.”

Frances killed this song lyrically, and the instrumentals bring it somewhere else it couldn’t have gone otherwise. Should I say… space? 



“Clean of You” has an equally amazing guitar solo that could summon a mosh pit, and, in a way, it stands as the other side of the coin of “Monika Gives Me Lockjaw.” Frances has proved they’re the one for the job of conveying queer love and obsession. But that’s not the truth all the time; “Clean of You” serves as a reminder of the ugly truth that not every relationship should continue. The same can be said for “Too Soft,” a song that shows the devastating underbelly of love.



Speaking of underbellies, what lives underneath a bridge? While I can’t say for certain, it might be a troll... “Troll,” was one of the first singles released before the album, and it holds the album together, slotted in around halfway through. It is an ​​unconventional song, professing “I wanna be a troll under a bridge, make friends with the snails… Don't have to wear pants or brush my hair.” Frances honestly creates an appealing argument for living as a troll, and the song is one that anyone can bop along to. However, in Frances Forever fashion, this song, while embracing the lonely pockets of life, isn’t only about the joys of troll-hood.  

The repeated lyric, “You can't be my friend” adds a layer of hurt to the song—implying that this troll identity came about because the narrator doesn’t think they can exist above the bridge. It sounds peaceful swimming with the fish and hanging out with snails, but there is a tangible loneliness. Frances’s yell-like vocal performance for “You can't be my friend, I'll scare you off again,” is the album’s peak, and adds character to Lockjaw


With their debut album, Frances Forever—at 25-years-old—is giving audiences a pass to time travel back to those teenage, pubescent years. It is not only a time capsule but is bound to resonate with a generation younger than them, who now have these songs to relate to. Historically, queer people may have grown up feeling like there was no space for them, but Lockjaw is a creator of that silly-serious-safe space. Maybe it came too late for some, but for others, it’ll be right on time. 

You can see Frances Forever on July 18th in Cambridge. Tickets are available here.

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