Thoughts On Frank Turner Songs – “Sailor’s Boots”

This is probably my favourite Frank Turner song. It’s one of his rarer songs in the way that it wasn’t released on a regular album, just as B-side and on a compilation. He doesn’t play it live very often either. Which was one of the reason I had thought I might have a good chance with it as a song request for the Stockholm show on my birthday in April.

Frank didn’t mention anything of this being a song request from me or anyone that night. But he did play it. My favourite song. On my birthday. At a show without a barrier. Where I could just comfortably lean against the stage and gaze up in awe while he sang these words. Bliss!

I like that this is such a quiet, simple song. [No idea how simple or complicated the chords are to be honest]. I like his fast paced, punkrock songs a lot as well, but if you call Frank Turner’s music “folk-punk”, then I’m much more folk thank punk. And I love that here it’s just Frank’s voice and his guitar. Stripped down to the core.

To me the music perfectly captures the mood on or near the water: the motion of gently rolling waves. It just has the perfect flow, if that makes any sense. I can close my eyes and immediately picture myself at the coast somewhere gazing out onto the sea. Which is one of my favourite things to do in life.

The song also has the right flow phonetically, because Frank uses the stylistic device of repetition a lot, with vowels

born two hundred years ago

sailors boots I could have worn

but also with consonants

I’d be landless, I’d be loveless, I’d be flight and fancy-free

Besides the mere phonetical beauty of these lyrics, I love all the images and memories they evoke in me. Of 17th century sailing ships, majestically gliding through the waves. Of sun and wind and the smell of sea salt. Of swashbuckling Erol Flynn movies I loved to watch as a kid. [Who says the images evoked have to be logical *g*?]

Here are a some more of the song’s lyrics, which I love a lot, even though I don’t know which linguistic term would be the right one to specify them.

And when I think about the place and time where I was born,
I wonder if the hands of fate had slipped and placed me wrong,

My favourite part of the lyrics are the final four lines though:

But the ocean is still out there, magnificent and wide.
She’s got open arms to hold me, and endless space to hide,
And the only things that hold me back are things I hold inside,
The ocean is still out there, magnificent and wide.

The first two lines describes the ocean perfectly to me. The third one perfectly describe a lot of the aspects in my life I often enough struggle with. Worrying too much, overthinking things and letting these negative thoughts have too much impact on what I do or what I don’t do.

It always feels shocking at first to find lyrics, which I can so very well relate to. Lyrics, which sum up parts of my life in beautiful poetry. Shocking, but also quite wonderful, because it’s so very comforting. In the way that the person, who wrote these words must have at some point felt or maybe still feels the same or at least the similar way I feel. Comforting in a way that I share these sentiment with at least one person in the world, Frank Turner in this case. That I’m not alone in this.

Oh dear, did this get sappy in the end. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. This song just gets to me every freaking time.

Sailor's Boots - Ocean
“The ocean is still out there, magnificent and wide…”

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