Frank Turner, God bless him, raised his little British head at a particularly potent time for me.
Folk rock was peaking. The Revival Tour was the most exciting prospect on the year’s musical calendar. All anyone wanted to hear was a husky, road weary troubadour telling it like it is. Someone with a nice voice and a grotty guitar to articulate the things that us 20 year olds had been feeling but hadn’t figured out how to say. Turner never had particularly complex lyrics, though I’m certain that penning something more intricate and poetic is firmly within Turner’s wheelhouse. Just something simple and that sounded great. That was Frank Turner’s music in a nutshell.
The British musician is nothing if not a talented wordsmith. His new album Positive Songs For Negative People is released today, so we’re celebrating by identifying several key moments when he made everything make sense.
Photosynthesis– for those days when the only thing you’re certain about is that you don’t want to be like everyone else.
Oh maturity’s a wrapped up package deal so it seems
And ditching teenage fantasy means ditching all your dreams
All your friends and peers and family solemnly tell you you will
Have to grow up be an adult yeah be bored and unfulfilled
Oh when no ones yet explained to me exactly what’s so great
About slaving 50 years away on something that you hate,
about meekly shuffling down the path of mediocrity
Well if that’s your road then take it but it’s not the road for me
Try This At Home– Truer words have never been spoken.
Because there’s no such thing as rock stars, there’s just people who play music,
and some of them are just like us, and some of them are dicks.
Dan’s Song – For those feeling directionless and disappointing
Work weeks make us weary now and school’s a distant memory
and it’s easy to ask questions of ourselves, like:
where it is we’re going now and what we have to show for all the sunny days
shut up in the shells of expectations of our ultimate directions,
and the stations that we should have reached by now,
when we haven’t read the script and our tender wings are clipped,
and we’re scared we might be letting someone down.
Long Live The Queen– This drawn out downer chronicles the illness and death of a dear friend. It’s conclusion is the most joyfully devastating thing we’ve ever heard.
Yeah she told me she was sick of all the hospital food
And of doctors, distant relatives, draining her blood
She said “I know I’m dying, but I’m not finished just yet
I’m dying for a drink and for a cigarette”
So we hatched a plan to book ourselves a cheap hotel
In the centre of the City and to raise some Hell
Lay waste to all the clubs and then when everyone else is long asleep
We know we’re good and done
Get Better- because, oof.
I’m trying to get better
Frank Turner’s new album Positive Songs For Negative People is out now on EMI/Universal.