124/2024 “Giving up on Hope for a Better Past”

Lyrics: “Undefeated” – Frank Turner, 2024

All in all it’s been a good day. But of course a part of my mind focuses on the one (tiny) thing where I (might have) messed up. Yes, I’m not even sure that I did and if I did it wasn’t a big deal. A voice in my head still keeps jabbering on about it! Ugh!

Anyway, the new Frank Turner album is out and so far I like it. I need more time – much more time – to offer a proper opinion. Introspectively it has been interesting to experience today’s events: the album release, the fandom reaction, my reaction to some fandom reaction. The presale for show 3000. The fandom reaction to that and my reaction… you get the drift.

Frank at Hat Works in Stockport, 2019

Re the album: I’m fascinated that after more than a decade of me listening to songs Frank has written – often about his own life experiences, which on the surface seems so vastly different from mine – I still find lyrics that resonate with me deeply. Which is so weird and so wonderful, because Frank’s life obviously has changed quite a bit in this decade and so has mine (maybe less than his). But our life experiences in this decade do not mirror or even resemble each other, I think. And still there are these words, that express what I’m feeling more eloquently and more beautifully than I ever could. Again! Still! How does he do that?

The lyrics in question: The title of this post! Obviously! I don’t recall which podcast (episode) from the variety of mental health / self-care podcasts I occasionally listen to, touched on the same subject. I do remember that I had been listening to it on my way to the radio gig Frank played in March. Which really was just a coincidence, obviously, but I still like that fact.
The guest in that podcast coined it a bit differently more along the lines of “hoping that our past had been different / happier / better is not helping us to move forward, because we then keep ruminating about the past instead of letting it go”. You get the idea, I hope. And of course I have read and heard that many times before, but during that podcast for the first time it felt like it really landed with me. Now Frank sings these words and again they land.
Usually you’d think and usually I’d agree that “giving up hope” is a bad thing. But in this case it’s not, because you can hope as much as you want, you can’t change the past. What happened happened and hoping it didn’t doesn’t change anything. I don’t know if I’m making sense. It just felt weird in an absolutely wonderful way to have that sentiment sung to me by my favourite artist.

Because his lyrics and his sometimes confessional song writing so often resonates with me so deeply, I felt personally offended when I read a (German online zine) review trashing exactly his lyrics and his confessional style and everything about the album. Why did I read the review in the first place? Good question. It was the first result on the German Google page when I looked for reviews at some point today. But my visceral “how dare they?” reaction also was part of the introspective experience today. Because why do I get so defensive about one bad review of my favourite artist’s new album? Something to ponder on. Maybe…

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