Thoughts on “Love, Ire & Song” ~ Frank Turner, 2008

Some time ago I listened to the whole “Love, Ire & Song” album on my way to work as part of a small Twitter challenge. #timeyourjourneybymusic. I hadn’t listened to that album track by track in a long time. Some of the songs are staples on various of my iPod playlists – Frank-related ones and in general. But listening to this on the whole made me realize what an amazing set of songs this actually is. Two of the four songs I’ve written “Thoughts on Songs” posts about are from this album! All in all I’m very excited for the 2nd night of Lost Evenings 2018, on which they plan to play the complete album (and then some…)

I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous ★★★★☆
Life is about love, last minutes and lost evenings,
About fire in our bellies and furtive little feelings,
And the aching amplitudes that set our needles all a-flickering,
And help us with remembering that the only thing that’s left to do is live.

Such a classic! I’ve heard it at about half of the shows I’ve seen Frank (& the Souls) play in the past five years. It’s not a “banger” as such, but I always enjoy it especially on the rare occasion when it’s the first song of a set. Because I’m a nerd and I love the neat idea of starting a show with the lines “let’s begin at the beginning” :-) It’s one of the songs I sometimes wonder if Frank catches himself looking back on and thinking how much his life and career has changed since the time he wrote that one. Either way, he’s still playing it quite often and I love that, as it gives me the chance to loudly sing along to “help us with remembering that the only thing that’s left to do is live”. And loudly singing along to those words helps with incorporating this mindset. Which I sometimes forget to do…

Reasons Not To Be An Idiot  ★★★★★
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.

Another classic! And it has been and still is such an important song for me. In fact, when I started listening to all the Frank music that was available when I came across him in 2013, this song might have been one of the first songs I could relate to on such a personal level that it was scaring me a tiny bit. Like… how can this guy in England, who doesn’t know me at all, have the perfect words to express how I feel? Or more precisely: have the perfect words to remind me what I should and have to do to make me not feel that way? Motivational Frank at his best. I’m not always living up to that “get up and get out and get outside” idea, but I’m trying my best. Either way, this song also was the first one which made me realize that Frank might not be so different from me. From all of us. As he was just “building bonfires on his vanities and doubts, to get warm just like everybody else”. Even without all this personal meaning for me, it’s always a great song live. Full of energy and fun to scream along to.

Photosynthesis ★★★★☆
I won’t sit down,
And I won’t shut up,
And most of all I will not grow up.

I think I’ve heard that at every full band show. It’s… yes, another classic! From a live perspective definitely even more than the first two and I can’t imagine the song being dropped from the setlist anytime soon. The live routine changed a bit in the last two years, when the “sitting down” part was replaced with the “wall of hugs”. I’m very much in favour of that, because my legs already were so tired after queuing outside and standing for hours before the main show started and I’m a clumsy person. So sitting or crouching down for the indeterminable span of time at which I always ended up thinking “STFU Frank, my legs are killing me” was hard for me ;-) But seriously, it’s been fun and it still is. You can’t NOT dance and sing along to this song and it’s a good reminder to think a bit more about what you’re doing with your life. Do you really spend it the way you want to?

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.

There is a whole post just about this song, so… yeah, I love, love, love, love it.

Better Half ★★☆☆☆
And oh my imperfections are all that remain
Of the days when I’d love you and I’d leave you, and you’d wish that I would stay.

I’m not quite sure what to say about that song. I can’t really relate to what he’s singing about and even though Frank’s emotion are palpalale here, this song doesn’t move me in a way other songs do. It’s going to be interesting to see if that changes when I’ll hear it live for the first time on the 2nd night of Lost Evening 2018.

Love, Ire & Song  ★★★★★
So come on, let’s be young, let’s be crass enough to care.
Let’s refuse to live and learn, let’s make all our mistakes again.
And then darling, just for one day, we can fight and we can win,
And if only for a little while, we could insist on the impossible.

One of my favourite songs! Another one! He doesn’t play it all that often anymore, so that’s definitely something to look forward to in May. In one of my earliest “fangirling over Frank” posts I used this song as example of why I think he is a brilliant songwriter. Telling a story and not just in a simple  4 line verse – 2 line chorus – 4 line verse kind of song structure. I might not quite agree with all of his sentiments here, but it’s still an amazing song. I love all the historical details. It’s also one of the first song which made me recognize and appreciate the art and craft of Frank’s lyrics. “Leave the mourning to the morning” is such a gem. To me anyway.

Imperfect Tense  ★★★★★
And I’ve nothing to say in my defense,
I’m far from perfect and I’m still tense.

This was the first song I wrote a “Thoughts on Songs” post about, because I did and still do like it a lot.

To Take You Home ★★★☆☆
A smile upon my face to let you know
That I would like to take you home
To the hills that I know,
To the places I go,
I would like to take you home.

Quite the lovely love song for that one special French girl in Paris. A lovely song about falling in love when you don’t expect it. A nice song to sing along to at a show. I’m not sure how true or embellished Frank’s anecdotes about his songs are. I should check “The Road Beneath My Feet” for that again maybe. But I remember that I felt a bit let down – absolutely weird and unjustified as it’s none of my business, I know – when I had learned that this love-story didn’t have a happy-end after all. Even as a new fan in 2013 I knew he hadn’t been in a long-term relationship with a French girl, but I still hadn’t expected the song to have such a sad story around it. At one of the first gigs I’ve been to he told the story how he had finished that song and taken the Eurostar to Paris just to be dumped by the French girl on her doorstep. Mmph!  Like I said, I have no idea how much truth there was to that anecdote. But it’s still something I sometimes remember when I hear that song. Totally weird. I KNOW :-)! 

Long Live The Queen ★★★★★
We live to dance another day,
It’s just now we have to dance for one more of us.
So stop looking so damn depressed,
And sing with all our hearts, long live the Queen.

It’s been weird listening to this album version of the song after having heard the rocked up live version so many times. I’m glad they recorded the rock version for “Songbook” because that’s the version I know and love. Such a sad song and I’m always getting a bit emotional during the solo acoustic bit at the end. I still remember the goosebumps when I the sold out O2 Arena in 2014 join Frank during that part. In a more uplifting kind of way: How awesome is it each time to see the full band go all out on stage in the part just before that at a live show? Maybe at some point in my life I remember to have the camera ready for Frank’s utterly crazy “climb on the base drum and jump” act here.

A Love Worth Keeping ★★☆☆☆
I guess you never know
Loss until you have something to lose,
Choice until you have something to choose.

This is a song, that I admittedly skipped and thus ignored for the longest time. It’s a bit too slow and monotonous for my taste, but it’s not a bad song. I just haven’t quite figured out if it’s meant to be an unhappy love song or a happy one. He’s ending it with “I’m coming home soon”, so… I have no idea.

St Christopher Is Coming Home ★★★★☆
Friday evening barely even begins
Before my phone begins to ring with people asking where I am.
And I can’t suppress a smile, we talk a while,
But chances are that I am far away and so I’m phased out of the plan.

I really like this one. It’s once again Frank in a nutshell, I think. About his lifestyle and all. But I also love the melody and how easy the words just flow along so rhythmically. It fits so very well to the “wandering meanderings” he is singing about. And it’s got a great sing-a-long at the end, that’s always a plus.

Jet Lag  ★★★★☆
On the phone
You always ask if I’m OK,
But it’s not the same as being happy.

I kind of ignored that song for the longest time. I have no idea, when I realized what an amazing song it actually is. It might have been Lost Evenings last year, when I heard it live for the first time. It a quite sad song and so full of emotion. Heartbreak and feeling guilty and all that. Sometimes a song just needs to be this way. But I also love that it’s one of the few songs with a strong piano part. I’m a sucker for prominent keyboard / piano parts and I sometimes miss those in Frank & the Sleeping Souls folk-punk arrangements. Thus I can’t wait to hear Matt shine in this song at the Roundhouse in May.

And that was another absolutely subjective, maybe not very substantial album review. I honestly can’t wait to hear all those songs in all their glory at Lost Evenings in May. 

Here are more of my thoughts on Frank Turner songs

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