In this raw and honest 6 track experience, Karel holds a lens up to the aftermath of heartbreak, capturing the feeling of isolation and longing, alongside the optimism of new beginnings.
On August 26th, up-and-coming pop brilliance Francis Karel released his debut EP ‘Handle with Care‘ to his adoring online fanbase. This came about via TikTok, in true Gen Z fashion. The EP poetically explores personal matters of heartbreak and attachment, whilst delivered by Karel’s descriptive songwriting of inner thoughts and feelings.
Francis Karel’s inspiring journey, moving from Jakarta, Indonesia to LA to pursue his career in music makes this project all the more poignant. It truly reflects the distance he covered to do what he loves.
‘But I’m not beyond repair, I’m just a little lost out here’
The EP’s sound is fuelled by soft pop production, powerful ballad-like vocals, and playful instrumentals. Although the sentiment of ‘Handle with Care‘ is somewhat melancholic, its pop-inspired sound gives it a hopeful tone.
The title track, ‘Handle with Care,’ is an ideal introduction to the project, with its energetic instrumental carrying the strong sense of optimism we hear in Karel’s lyricism. He is hopeful that although he’s been hurt he will bounce back. But, he just needs to protect his heart from getting wounded again.
‘Not as tough as I appear, so if we go there, handle me with care.’
The clever, tactile motif of bubble wrap that’s featured on the EP, through Karel’s artwork and in the sentiment of the phrase ‘Handle me with Care’ nicely reinforces this idea of his fragility and need for protection after his experiences in love.
Karel’s story-telling lyricism evokes a feeling of loneliness on the tracks ‘Like All My Friends‘ and ‘Dancing on Your Own.’ The former was released as a single earlier in the year and has understandably become a fan favourite. This is undoubtedly down to the powerful gospel-like sound the song emits as it builds, creating a moving listening experience.
Like many male pop singer/songwriters today, such as Harry Styles, Karel is making music that embraces the more tender emotions in life and doesn’t shy away from sharing them with his audience.
‘Oh no, it’s lonely on the dance floor when you’re the one whose dancing on your own.’
The two videos which have been released alongside the EP are simple and stripped back. Both focus on Francis singing the tracks directly to the camera. It feels intimate and personal, just like the entirety of the EP. The visuals make you feel like it’s just you and him, offering you a deeper insight into the way he feels through body language and facial movements. It gives the songs a sense of identity which is necessary when listening to music as raw and personal as ‘Dancing on Your Own‘ is.
‘Small Talk‘ is another standout song from the project. Released earlier this summer as a single, it received a warm embrace from his online following. His beautiful songwriting resonated with countless individuals. It’s the kind of track that you can belt out at the top of your lungs as a form of therapy.
Francis Karel’s music is greatly influenced by iconic pop stars who came before him, like Sam Smith. However, ‘Handle with Care‘ feels contemporary and unique. It’s something that is appealing to the next generation of pop consumers.
“That’s the kind of music that hooked me,” he reflects, “songs that were instantly catchy and memorable but still felt so fresh and original. It’s the kind of music I dreamed of making myself.”
Francis is contributing to today’s new wave of emotive pop music in full force. We encourage you to keep updated with his socials to see what comes next…