Francis and the Lights, ‘It’ll Be Better’ (Cantora)
As hip-hop’s latest nerdy, white-boy muse, Francis Starlite is a Drake- and Kanye-approved, Eraserheaded ball of overearnestness who can moonwalk like Fred Astaire. Tightly wound to the point of unease, the Brooklyn singer-pianist’s third album has its occasional irresistible moments. “For Days” glides from slap-bass boogie to nimble, 1999-inspired funk guitar, while “Knees to the Floor” and “Darling, It’s Alright” show Francis’ study of both George Benson’s jazz licks and David Bowie’s self-assurance. Though smothering in its ambition, It’ll Be Better remains impressively deft.