A topless woman sporting bad-ass sunglasses on the back of a Harley Davidson holding up the American flag as it billows behind them. It’s like some sort of sick American fantasy that would make any Putin sit up and think, “Hey, that shit’s good”.
The last scene of the ‘Where Do We Belong’ music video encapsulates the free spirit of Frankie Lee’s debut single. To describe the song to the more musically tuned in, it’s Pleasure Beach, but on Valium. They’re chilled out and not panicking just yet.
The motorcycle is significant here, it’s not just a “hell yeah, we like the American dream” statement. Frankie’s father died of a motorcycle accident when he was 12.
Topped off with the fact he was a new kid in Minneapolis, it’s not hard to see why he immersed himself in the local music scene. He had that sense of longing for…err…belonging.
“I was raised on stage,” he said. “These guys would bring me into the clubs, sit me behind the soundboard and give me all the coca cola I could drink until they’d call me up for a song or two at the end of the night.”
Where Do We belong flows in the vein of Band of Horses instrumentally, and maybe even The Flaming Lips if you really listen to the vocals. It’s folk rock with just a sprinkle of country on it. Dylan wouldn’t leave your mind.
Mississippi native has come a long way since, and the song reflects his life journey. He dropped out of college, spent his soccer scholarship fund on a Volvo and skedaddled. He hit Nashville, Austin, and went couch surfing in LA. It wasn’t exactly the Borat dream, though. He nursed narcolepsy and kicked his drug habits along the way.
But it all led him being taken in by U2 and REM engineer Patrick McCarthy. With him, he learned how to record the music he was hearing in his head.
Lee returned to Minnesota. He spent the last 3 years working on a hog farm and developing songs for his debut album. It didn’t all help him musically though; a farming accident crushed the fingers on his left hand.
With this in mind, ‘Where Do We Belong’ is a bit of an oxymoron, a bit of a string fest. The lap slide guitar gives it a rural charm and the relaxed strumming gives the singer a sense of acceptance of the title – where do we belong.
“I’d been gone 10 years. I decided when I got back home, to get back to the land and the people who shaped me. Hardworking, soft-spoken, Scandinavians who moved to the middle of nowhere with nothing, and of that place made everything they needed.”
Frankie Lee released his debut single ‘Where Do We Belong’ through Loose Music on 4th September. Available on 7” vinyl and featuring the AA-side ‘Buffalo’, the single was recorded at Real Phonic Studios in Minneapolis, MN.