Wrongs #3 – Frank Turner

Some time ago, upon the release of his second solo album, I wrote a reasonably indignant and probably quite insulting review of Frank Turner. The album in question, Love, Ire And Song was, suffice to say, not imbued with the traits I’d normally consider worthy and attractive in musical expression; everything was shot through with a terrifying sense of self-satisfaction, an implied superiority that this troubadour had over the rest of us ‘tards. A great example (included in the review, fans of recycling) is in the song Photosynthesis, wherein the end of the song is met with whoops of appreciation and thunderous clapping from studio employees. I seriously thought that this kind of self-satisfaction had died years ago, but apparently it’s fine to proclaim in the most cowardly way possible that you actually think you’re the best thing since your own penis.
You might be becoming reasonably familiar with Frank Turner through his recent single Reasons Not To Be An Idiot. Even the title should worry you. It’s a strange grasp at impossible extremity through blunt “I don’t need to swear” haughtiness. Just grow a pair and call someone a cunt already. The lyrics, though, coupled with the predictable, brain-owning numbness of the music itself, are that very same bluntness with not a single corner of originality. Hypocritical it may be to criticise one example of unoriginality with a terrible cliché, but the phrase “6th form poetry” could have been invented just so it could be hung on Reasons Not To Be An Idiot.
Useless “and”s, “I guess”s, “so”s and “justs”, so many useless phrase openers that suggest coming in halfway through a sentence are ungainly and hackneyed, and display no craft in language whatever. The vague sentiments of disillusionment are both personal and stupefying in their generality, they tell us too little about the individual and nothing about ourselves. Who is this Amy? We want to know more about her problems! Was she going out with you? Why are you so intent on improving these peoples’ lives? They probably know they spend too much time indoors!
It could be argued that the most successful songs that address their audience like this do it in away that force us to see ourselves in the characters they portray, or at least see recognisable traits of others in them. Gravitas goes a long way, and Turner doesn’t yet have the stature or the empathy to include us more in his narrative, so the song comes off more as an ill-judged and slightly too aggressive move.
Not a massive wrong, but a wrong nonetheless. Do you want to know more about Frank Turner? Then go here.



Filed under Wrongs

2 responses to “Wrongs #3 – Frank Turner

  1. McA

    You are a wrong.

  2. popmusicology

    A wrong for criticising artistic shortcomings? If that’s so, then the whole journalistic industry and nature of comment is doomed to obscurity.

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