Thursday, 2nd sees the release of Francois van Coke’s second solo album, Hierdie is die Lewe. The album is available in stores nationwide, on iTunes (where it kicked off on the number 1 position on the local chart) and Google Play, at Francois launch tour shows and on vinyl from Permanent Record.

Francois’ third music video from the album, Dit Raak Beter (It Gets Beter) accompanies the album’s release. The video contains poignant, unreleased footage of Francois growing up. The footage for the most part depicts Francois’ love affair with music growing up, intercut with a performance at his alma mater, Bellville High.

The other two music videos released from Hierdie is die Lewe are Mensdom to introduce Francois’ band, Die Gevaar, and Klein Prys – his ode to Fokofpolisiekar.

Another track from the album, My Hart, was premiered on 5FM’s Hamman Time this morning. This song also happens to be Francois’ current favourite song on the new album.

Photo by Allister Christie

Here is the tracklist and more information on each. Enjoy 😉

The first single from the album is about the human condition. A bluesy-grunge sing-along to get the party started.

My Hart
Firing dance beat running with a progressive garage rock riff and an infectious synth lick supplying the melody. This is an upbeat rocker. Van Coke sings in a lower register than normal over a skanking guitar until the song breaks into a soaring chorus. This is a love song to South Africa and an ode to our turbulent relationship.

Beter mens
Piano and cello accompanies Van Coke on the mission to better himself and finding solace on this power ballad. Big synth drives the breaking chorus and screaming vocals feature for the first time on the album. ‘Die lewe sal nie wag nie, maar jy sal’

Weet jy wat ek bedoel?
A hip-hop influenced upbeat dance number. Die Gevaar are showing off their magic on this one. Sheldon Yoko’s simplistic but solid beat, while Willemse is pushing the tune forward with a muscular bass line. Kossew & Onraet are colouring the story with their funky guitar lines, melodies and harmonies reminiscing of Thin Lizzy.

A fast rock number with punk attitude. Van Coke singing about his existential crises that is becoming a theme on this album. ‘As jy bekommer gaan jy dood, as jy nie gaan jy ook.’ Kossew’s dirty, greasy guitar solo is a special feature on this one.

Ek wens
Francois sings about growing up and ending up in the suburbs over a beautifully picked guitar and sweeping beat. Power chords and cymbals push the chorus into overdrive. Questioning where he and his peers fit in. ‘Ek weet nie wie my mense is nie’ Stick around for the outro on this one. Sheldon Yoko delivers an amazing drum performance.

The album takes a turn from here on out, with this Beatles/Beach Boys-esque ballad about is the past, the present and the future. Tongue in cheek oohs and aahs, will make the kids and their parents dance.

Dit raak beter
This one is a folky ballad about progression and getting older. Accordion and a shuffle beat accompany the friendly sing-along melodies, quite a departure from Francois’ older catalogue.

Normaal te voel
Pacey old school rock ‘n roll. It sound like The Rolling Stones went to the beach and is surfing in the Atlantic. This is a song about excesses and formulas. The things people do to feel normal.

Die wêreld is mal

Van Coke lamenting the world as we know it. The way it is right now. A heartfelt country-ish pop ballad is the vehicle driving the idea home. The most beautiful song on the album.

Klein prys
Van Coke’s ode to Fokofpolisiekar.