I’ll start this week’s post with an apology. I’ve reread some of the stuff I’ve posted, and in my opinion about 50% of it was total crap. Maybe it wasn’t (I’m hoping against all hope) because it seems to be a common theme that writers are overly critical of themselves, but I felt like it was, and so I’m sorry. I cringe knowing that my 11 AP English teacher is my Facebook friend because with that knowledge comes the terrifying prospect that he’s read some of my stuff and is shaking his head and questioning whether or not I learned anything in his class. Thus, I now promise to try a little bit harder this week.
Before I officially start, I’ll give you a quick update because this is my blog and I want to. We (finally) got internet at our house! This means that this post will officially not bite me in the butt later when our phone bill arrives. And, because we were really on a roll this week, my speakers have been installed! I am now able to bring you this (hopefully) amazing post about Frank Turner and the concert I went to on the 30th of May. I hope you enjoy.
Album: Tape Deck Heart Artist: Frank Turner
It was around April 12th-ish I believe that the Coachella live broadcast was on YouTube, and despite the fact that I managed to miss most of the sets I wanted to see, I was able to catch the last half of Frank Turner’s. So naturally my concert buddy Alexandra already knew they’d be at the Bijou in May and talked me into going. Ultimately it was a good decision because I might not have bothered to listen to Frank Turner as much as I did in preparation for the concert/this blog post, and that would have been a tragedy.
Frank Turner’s Tape Deck Heart was his fifth studio album, and it’s been described (by who I couldn’t tell you, but accurately) as a “break up album.” The album was produced by Rich Costey, which surprised me. I believe what Costey is most known for is his work with Muse on their albums Absolution and Black Holes and Revelations. These albums and Tape Deck Heart sound nothing alike, but I digress and appreciate what Costey seems to bring to the table.
As far as genre, Frank Turner is mostly lumped into folk, which I think accurately describes his sound. But Turner is a little more punk rock than you’d initially give him credit for. Frank Turner started out as a vocalist for a post-hardcore band called Million Dead, and for awhile during his solo career was signed with Epitaph Records. Surprising, since he might be the only folk artist on the label (Epitaph tends to sign punk, post-hardcore, and “emo” bands).
So between Turner’s obvious talent for the folk genre and his punk rock roots, he manages to bring a unique rock sound to his folk music with Tape Deck Heart. Seems like a conflicting combination, but it’s very skillfully done.
But before we go on, let’s ask ourselves: what exactly is a Tape Deck Heart? In explaining the title, Frank Turner describes a Tape Deck Heart as “someone who has a love of music above anything else.” An interesting idea, and one that is developed on the album. In “Four Simple Words,” (which is possibly my favorite song on the album), Turner asks his listeners if they too are “sick of the music/Churned out by lackluster scenesters from Shoreditch?” and goes on to claim that “[he] want[s] bands who had to work for their keep/Drove a thousand miles and played a show on no sleep/Sleeping on the floor in a stranger’s place/Hungry just to do it all again the next day.”
This is exactly how I feel. I love this song, and it’s my favorite on the album simply because, to put it informally, Frank Turner knows the feels. I really respect Turner for his views on punk rock. At the concert we went to, Turner had some guys heckling him while he was telling a story. Ultimately he had them thrown out and admittedly used some questionable insults (which, based on what he said to those of us who hung around to meet him, he felt kinda bad about), but it’s the principle that counts. To Turner, music is about coming together and sharing a part of yourself with your audience away from the judgment of the outside world. “Because punk is for the kids who never fit in with the rest.” So even though “Four Simple Words” seems like it’s about dancing, it’s actually about the meaning of rock. Try that on for size.
I’m done with my half page worship of “Four Simple Words,” but only because Tape Deck Heart has so much more to offer and I feel like I’m boring you guys. There are a lot of great songs on the album, the most familiar being “Recovery” and “The Way I Tend To Be:” both songs reflect on a past relationship and are about dealing with the heartbreak that came along with it. Honestly, Turner’s appeals for a second chance with “Darling, sweet lover, won’t you help me to recover?” are a little bit of a downer without the upbeat music that accompanies them, but it’s a good thing. Frank Turner’s lyrics have the kind of raw honesty that a lot of music lacks. But it’s not about what’s familiar either. It’s not just about the upbeat rock sound that Turner incorporates into his music, but it’s also about the easy, slow songs that explore the ideas of family, loss, recovery, and self-expectations.
From what I can tell, Tape Deck Heart received generally positive reviews. Metacritic gave the album a 76/100, which isn’t bad if you ask me. While Tape Deck Heart is by no means my favorite album, I love the musicianship Turner possesses, and I love his own appreciation for what he does. He isn’t afraid to talk about what makes others uncomfortable, which is refreshing. Tape Deck Heart is definitely a good addition to anyone’s music collection, and I hope that maybe one day his following in America will be as devoted as it is in the UK. I think he deserves it.
Please comment! I’d love to hear your suggestions and your opinions. I promise I’ll write about it if you throw it out there 🙂 I hope this week’s post was of higher quality than they have been recently. I actually started writing before 11:30 pm. Until next week, keep listening!
Honorable Song Mentions: Recovery, Good And Gone, Tell Tale Signs, Four Simple Words, Oh Brother
Personal Story Time!! We actually got to meet Frank Turner after the concert. He was really cool. He signed the setlist we got off of the stage, and he signed my vinyl copy of Tape Deck Heart “For Maddie, Frank Turner.” So that was pretty cool.
Also, there was this guy in a shirt. I didn’t actually get to see it, but Frank Turner freaked out and actually took a photo of them together on his personal phone, so that was one lucky dude.
And best for last, during “Four Simple Words” he pulled these 3 kids who were down by the stage up onto stage and he let them sing and dance and play tambourine with him. It was basically one of the coolest things I’ve seen in awhile. Pictures below!