13 Things I Love About Frank Turner

About eight weeks ago I wrote a post about a song, which I had just discovered a few days earlier: “I Still Believe” by Frank Turner. I didn’t know him before and didn’t remember him from the London 2012 opening ceremony where he had performed that song. But I liked what I discovered on iTunes and bought all the albums and a few days later also a ticket to his concert in Cologne. (I’m considering driving up to Bremen two weeks before that as well, but haven’t made up my mind yet) and now also for the show in Bremen.
I have listened to his music a lot since then, not necessarily to all the songs, because I usually have my iPod on “shuffle” (even when it’s just one artist I’m listening to) and I tend to skip quickly, when (I feel) I’m not in the mood for a song.

10 days ago Frank Turner announced on his website that he’s recovering from a back injury and had to cancel a few shows and he obviously felt really bad about it. So I thought, maybe besides sending him “get well” wishes via twitter I might also try to cheer him up a bit with some praise and by letting him know what his music means to me.
Well, that was the original plan, but executing it (i.e. writing this) took so much longer than I had expected, because I was so busy with other stuff.  And I got distracted by thoroughly listening to all the songs once (or more) again and by watching tour videos clips and a 1-hour clip on youtube from his concert at the Reading Festival a few days ago. His back is still not quite ok, but he’s back on stage. Without his guitar, which really looks weird. Not bad weird, just like there is something missing *g* This sounds as if I’ve seen him on stage lots of times and am an old and experienced Frank Turner fan, which I’m obviously not ;-)

So, I had originally planned to send him a link to this post via mail (he seems to be very open to getting mail, as he put his email on his website) . By now I’m hesitating again, because … well, because I doubt myself a lot anyway and I’m afraid it might seem obtrusive. And if I do send it, of course I would want him to read this and to in some way acknowledge that he has read it, and if I don’t get any reaction whatsoever I will start worrying again that this whole post is stupid and … I don’t know. [Can someone please shut off the nagging voice in my head?!?!?]

I guess, I’ll have to think about it some more. And maybe adjust this post a bit before I send him an email *g*  [28 August: I didn’t adjust anything, but send him the link anyway.]

But that’s enough of my rambling. Here are the 13 things I love about Frank Turner:

01 – Guitars and drums…
He just rocks! Crashing guitars and drums and all, but without being too loud and without it all being a bland mix of just noise. The loud and fast songs are just exactly the way I love my rock music to be. And there also are a lot of slower and more quiet songs as well, so I love his wide range of musical style. His songs don’t sound all the same, unlike, lets say… Nickelback. LOL

02 – … and desperate poetry
(“Guitars and drums and desperate poetry” is a line from my favourite song “I still believe”). He has a very special way with words. I just love that he manages to capture certain emotions and moments and situations perfectly. I can’t really say it any better. That’s probably why he’s the singer and I’m just listening in awe.

Life is too short to live without poetry
If you’ve got soul, darling, now come on and show it to me
(Poetry of the Deed)

03 – He’s an amazing story-teller
Some of Frank’s songs make me think of the troubadours in medieval castles, who were really telling stories and not just sang about their own lives and heart-breaks. And even when he sings about his own failed relationships he manage to tell the whole story (or most of it) in a song. It’s not a simple “woe is me, she broke my heart, I’m feeling so sad” stuff.

04 – He writes songs with a complex structure
Not all of them, but at least he knows how to do it. I think it goes along with the story-telling. It’s difficult to tell a good story with a verse – chorus – 2nd verse – chorus – bridge – chorus structure, especially when all of these elements only have four lines. I don’t know if that makes any sense. I guess it’s time for another example…

05 – He has an opinion
I might not always agree with his views on political and/or social issues, but at least he’s got an opinion and he’s not afraid to say what he thinks. Even though according to some articles I found (while I was looking up stuff for this post) he might keep his views more to himself in the future. And yes, he might sound disillusioned in some songs, but at least he’s obviously someone who thinks (and thus I conclude cares) about society and politics and I like that his songs reflect that.

I’m young enough to be all pissed off
But I’m old enough to be jaded
I’m of the age where I want things to change
But with age my hopes have faded.
(Once We Were Anarchists)

06 – He’s honest in his writing
This might sometimes be hard to swallow because it sometimes sounds bitter and cynical, but sometimes life calls for cynism. Even when he’s singing about his love life. And as long as I’m not the one he’s writing about, I can actually enjoy it ;-) In “Romantic Fatigue” (from 2007) he sings about his (unsuccessfully) attempts to impress the girls by writing songs for them

So as I have mentioned, the shelf-life was short
The scheme wasn’t working, despite what I thought
The ladies all left me alone in the end
So I had to switch all the names around and then sing it again

And every life-long love, and every best friend
Slipped away into the past
Take my words with caution – I can’t pretend that you’re the first
You won’t be the last
(Casanova Lament)

He also is honest about his part in the failed relationships, he’s singing about.

So if each of us is made of a tally of mistakes and successes
Then the hour in that restaurant makes my score less than impressive”

07 – He’s got the right attitude towards punk music
I don’t think he would call himself a punk rocker anymore, at least he’s not trying to cultivate that rebel image. Unlike Campino, lead singer of “Die Toten Hosen” for instance. But that’s a different story. Anyway, I love Frank’s attitude about it

But when I was just 16 I pinned my colours to the mast
And punk rock’s in the ink that’s in my skin
The attitude in every song I sing
And we didn’t change the world, we didn’t win
We probably didn’t even save my life, it’s true
But I bet we had a better time than you
(Back In The Days)

08 – “Reasons Not To Be An Idiot”
One of my favourite songs by now, because I feel like it’s giving me the overdue kick in the butt to change some things in my life. At least I hope it will help to motiviate me to change some things, be more active and all.

You’re not as messed up as you think you are
Your self-absorption makes you messier
Just settle down and you will feel a whole lot better
Deep down you’re just like everybody else
So why are you sat at home?
You’re not designed to be alone
You just got used to saying “no”
So get up and get down and get outside
Cos it’s a lovely sunny day
But you hide yourself away
You’ve only got yourself to blame
Get up and get down and get outside

09 – “The Road”
I liked the song from the start and by now I don’t remember if the song was the inspiration for my CampNaNoWriMo novel idea (which I didn’t start writing after all, but will try to write or start writing during NaNoWriMo this year) or if I had the novel idea and the song just fit it so perfectly as “soundtrack”. Anyway, the novel’s story (working) title will be “Horizon”, after a line in this song.
When I was watching a few video clips on Frank’s website this week (which also explains why I didn’t get around to writing this post, the videos were just too distracting) I came across the “Making of “The Road” video” clip and the crazy idea of this video shooting makes me love this song even more. Check it out

10 – He’s “just like everybody else”

I’m not as awesome as this song makes out
I’m angry, underweight and sketching out
I’m building bonfires on my vanities and doubts
To get warm just like everybody else
(Reasons Not To Be An Idiot)

I love that he’s just like us and sings about all the stuff we all have been through or are going through at the moment. He just finds the better words to express it than I do and the perfect music to go along with the words. To capture that feeling of being lost and not quite sure where life will lead you or how to even get there. I could quote a lot more lyrics for that, but I think “If Ever I Stray” sums it up pretty well.

So we all got secrets that we hold inside
Yeah, the worst little things that you never confide
And the worst one of all that you just can’t hide
Is that you’re never quite as strong as you sound

11 – He puts his whole heart into his singing (and song writing)
He does it with a lot of his songs, but two songs stand out to me in particular. Amazing lyrics, sung with heartfelt emotion. It doesn’t really get any better. The song “Substitute”

The last girl that I loved she was a low and lusty liar
She set my heart on fire, but made me choke
Her beauty was a sight to see, but she didn’t save it all for me
I found other fires by following the smoke

And from his latest album the song “Tell Tale Signs” about the impact of an obviously quite destructive relationship. The last “God damn it, Amy” gets to me every single time!

12 – He is a singer/songwriter with all his heart
And he seems to still enjoy it all so very, very much. I love to see singer/musicians have as much fun on stage as I do down in the pit. There is nothing more off-putting than seeing the artist on stage just “doing his job”. I guess we all have seen some “big names” getting through their set list like it’s a chore to be up there on stage. I admit I haven’t even been to a Frank Turner concert myself yet, but the footage I saw from various shows so far and especially some tour videos seem to very much indicate that he still enjoys this all very very much.

13 – The song that started it all
“I Still Believe”. I wrote enough about that in that post in June :-)

Soooo, these are the 13 things I love about this guy. There are more, lots more actually, more beautiful lyrics and more crashing guitar sounds, but I think you get the idea. And yes, I admit, it doesn’t hurt that he also is a quite good looking guy. So, maybe there are 14 things I love about him after all :-)

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