Lyrics: “Pass It Along” ~ Frank Turner, 2011
8 years ago today I was channel surfing, came across the end of this feed & fell head over heels in (musical) love. “Happy @frankturner -versary to me”, I guess. I hope I’ll be in the right mindset for attending gigs (crowds, indoors) some time again… https://t.co/hs6nIMR2BU
— Susanne D (@dennasus) June 22, 2021
On my old blog I wrote tons of post about why and in how many wonderful ways that has changed my life. I think it’s time to bring a bit of the fangirling vibe to this space as well 🙂 And to be honest I just can’t bring myself to write another boring and repetitive post about how busy and borderline stressful my life is right now and how anxious many things make me at the moment and all that.
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Let’s focus on something positive for a change and pick 8 Frank Turner songs that moved and still move me so profoundly and make me feel so many different things and make me feel them so deeply. Not necessarily my favourite songs, because that is a fluid list and depends on moods and situations and all. But there are certain songs that just make me feel. Either because I can relate so well to what the song is about and for a first time there were these words for those messy and complicated emotions and thoughts. Or even if I can’t relate to what the song ist about, Frank still manages to make me feel all the feels just through his words and music.
To be fair, even this list might change over time and half a year from now I might pick different songs? Who know? I mean earlier today when I was tweaking this post, Frank posted a reminder for “The Gathering” shows and of course this song should be on this list. But I never really sat down yet and gathered my thoughts about it and this post was basically done. So, counting down…
#08: Pass It Along
This song kind of snuck up on me, because I wasn’t such a big fan early on. But at some point some lines of this one made perfect sense to me as it sums up what Frank’s music means to me. And the way he sings it and I usually sing along to (if I sing along, in the car etc) is a good way to let of some steam as well 🙂
Sing till you sweat for the spirit of the age,
Sing life to lines that are dead on the page,
Sing for your sorrow your wisdom, your rage, sing out.
Sing for the records you played til they broke,
For the parts where you insisted that nobody spoke.
Sing for the words that you knew but they still make you choke.
#07: The Lifeboat
The scope of instrumentation here is what gets to me. Frank has written similar folk songs before, but this one still has a different feel to me. I love how the sound evolves from simple guitar picking to the full crescendo of violin and cello and trumpet. Add the sombre, but at the same time hopeful words and I’m just moved by it.
#06: The Graveyard of the Outcast Dead
Beautiful lyrics, performed with so much emotion. Once more I love the scope of instrumentation: acoustic guitar, mandolin, percussion, cello, piano and I’m in awe of how the sound grows and grows with each added instrument till it just blows you away in the finale. I’m an absolute sucker for those kind of songs. With a sad story too. Also… what a amazing unique way to teach us some history.
I do like this song a lot. Which might make me seem a bit fucked up, I know, because after all it’s the honest and outspoken and thus kind of heartbreaking story of how and why Frank broke up with his girlfriend. Frank himself once called it an “unkind” song and he doesn’t play it live very often. But what I find fascinating is, that the emotional ramifications of his actions and decision come across very well here. He is sorry about it and he feels sad. And he ends it anyway, because he has to. I guess, I probably can only like this song, because I’m not one of the two people involved. Autobiographical aspects and emotions aside, it is a beautiful song; melody and lyric wise and I’m a big fan of those.
And we’ve met this sorry end from a picture perfect start,
The romance and the running down to disconnected hearts
Of two people sad and free, who know they used to be
More than just a pair of sinking ships.
#04: I Believed You William Blake
I didn’t know anything about Blake or his wife before Frank released this song. Nor did I care to be honest. But I just love everything about this song. The music. The arrangement. The lyrics. The way Frank puts so much emotion into his singing, making the desperate pleading to William and the rage against the world quite palpable to me. The way Frank sings the following lines always get to me…
That you won’t leave me when you leave
This world that didn’t believe
Be a comfort to your wife….
And while all the elements – melody, arrangement, lyrics, performance – are beautiful in their own right, they complete each other in such a way that they create an incredibly beautiful…. perfect piece of music.
#03: Get Better
I think that was the first new song I heard him play in the early days (gig no. 7 of so far 54) and what a great song it was and still is. It resonated so much with me and I needed to hear these words at that time in my life. To be honest, and that might be a bit pathetic, 7 years in, I still do. Not as much as I might have back then, because things did change and I do have a different perspective on some things and I try to be less negative about myself and take better care of myself, mentally and physically. The pandemic was a setback for me though, when it comes to floundering, self-doubting, feeling anxious. But that’s no surprise, is it? Thinking about this song is a good reminder to turn up the volume and dance and sing along and feel…
Not Alone (because I’m reminded of all the people looking out for me).
More at peace with myself.
Happy (because in the end it’s just an incredibly awesome tune).
Randomly here is my favourite photo from that gig.
#02: 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.
This 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 this probably was one of the first songs I could relate to on such a personal level that it was scaring me a bit. Because how could some guy in England have the perfect words to describe how I felt and 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. This song probably has also been the first one to make me realize that Frank himself might not be so different from me. From all of us. I never ever felt this way about any other singer / songwriter before.
#01: Tell Tale Sign
I can’t really relate to the situation or the relationship this song is about, but from early on this song absolutely blew me away. And still does. During the NML Tour in 2019 at the first of the London shows (Saturday), when after the opening chords the whole theatre so loudly joined in with “God Damn it Amy…” Wow! I admit I cried a little…
It’s one of my all time favourites, because it’s so emotional. And raw. And personal. This song was definitely one of the reasons I fell so head over heels for Frank as a singer / songwriter / artist, because all these emotions come across so well. Another reason why this song is so special to me is, that for probably the first time in my life, I heard lyrics which resonated with me soooo profoundly, that it just absolutely blew my mind.
When I thought that suffering was something profound,
That weighed down on wise heads,
And not just something to be avoided,
Something normal people dread.
Because as a teenage girl and even later on in life: Been there, done that! Lack of self-esteem. Self-doubt. Feeling stupid. Feeling unworthy. All that crap. And in a sick and twisted way finding comfort in believing that maybe I was supposed to feel that way. Maybe feeling miserable and being able to endure feeling miserable was what I was supposed to be. Pretty messed up? Yep. That was me. In parts probably still is. But.. hey, so is Frank. In his own way and he still always finds the right words to sing about it.
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I thought he had covered all the messy emotions by now and that he will rather write songs about the state of the world. But then he did the IVL shows on YouTube and played new songs like “Fatherless”. Which takes the “moving me profoundly” to a whole new level. Even eight years in. More on that though, once that song is properly released next year.
The more I think about this 8 of thing, maybe I shall do 8 favourite lyrics, 8 favourite pics, 8 favourite gigs posts as well… If I can be bothered with it later this week / months. Stay tuned…
Thanks for this post – I enjoyed it!