Discussion in 'Music Forum' started by Sean Murphy, Jul 3, 2019.
Has Twitter, historically, ever handled anything well?
It’s Wednesday ... podcast and song out.
I hope the new album is dynamic in sound and types of stories.
Maybe some people just want more songs about Rufus the Red and Gene Simmons?
same as the last, kind of catchy but just plays like he’s reading off a fact sheet he printed out in the studio.
what the hell happened to his songwriting
there is nothing dynamic at all about these songs
I was really excited about this album conceptually but these two songs are doing nothing for me. I liked the idea behind BMK, but the songs weren't there. I'm not gonna judge this before I hear it but if I was reading the tea leaves, the feeling I'm getting is very familiar.
Deed was my first Frank record and I loved it, and then went back and discovered Love. I was then treated to the killer run of England, Tape Deck and Positive and all their b-sides. After BMK and the early vibes I get from this, I'm now less interested in his new music than I have ever been and I hate to admit that.
Hope the album wins me over though!
I didn't give this a full listen yet (I think I did 15 seconds just to see if there was something dynamic, new, exciting about it) but yeah ... same old thing. I bet these songs would all be fine with lyrics not from a Wikipedia article.
Side note: I wish he had the history lesson be in the podcast. For the song: try to write it from THEIR perspective in a creative and interesting way. Maybe he does this better in this song than Sister Rosetta (cause I haven't listened) but I don't know. I feel meh. Which is really gutting as I did not like BMK. I used to say nobody churns out quality music better than Frank but it seems that is fading.
Oh I should say I am digging the podcast though haha.
It’s definitely not my favorite FT song, but I think it’s more interesting than Sister Rosetta.
I will say this second song is a little more interesting and dynamic musically than the first track released, but not by much...?
I am starting to think I may have been getting too hyped up for Frank to return to form after BMK, especially with him teaming up with Catherine Marks.
Hopefully this album has some surprises in store, and some high quality songwriting in the stuff we haven't heard yet.
I feel like Frank is at his best when he’s writing really personal stuff, and the last album (and it seems this one) have been attempts at broader, more political/“statement” type music. I understand why he’s gone in that direction, but give me Tape Deck Heart any day.
Yep! His personal stuff will always be top tier.
I feel like PSFNP began dipping into the broader range of lyrical ideas and concepts (such as Get Better, Next Storm, Demons, etc.) but at the same time it still had that personal and genuine Frank Turner touch (Song for Josh, Mittens). It was a great blend of trying to build a conceptual message but also mixing in personal touches along the way.
It didn't feel forced because based off the lyrical content of TDH, you knew he was trying to "start again" and get himself into a better place. It was a real testament of trying to move on from a bad relationship and wasn't a forced fed English dude irritated with American politics and wanting us to all build a common ground and come together to the tune of rather lackluster songs.
personally i really like both of these songs, really enjoyed the first podcast, have to listen to this weeks podcast still.
I like this one a lot more than the first
Chorus of Sister Rosetta is pretty catchy. Def not sold on the rest of the song though.
The Sleeping Souls will (likely) be playing this stuff with him live.
I think political songs are very hard to do unless you ground them in an interesting narrative or give them personal stakes. He didn’t do either of those things on BMK, so everything played as platitudes.
Having seen him play solo recently these songs will fit perfectly into that sort of environment.
I like the songs and I’ll be interested to see full band takes on these live.
THOUGHTS ON NO MAN’S LAND
There’s been a bunch of discussion, online and elsewhere, about the release of my forthcoming 8th studio album, “No Man’s Land”. As a thinking adult, I was obviously aware that I was stepping into some potentially contentious waters with the whole concept behind the record – and I have thought about it, a lot. I decided it might be useful to set out some of my ideas here, for those that are interested in my side of the various arguments out there.
The record is, first and foremost, a piece of story-telling – a history record, if you will, a pretty traditional folk approach. I didn’t actually set out to write exclusively about women. In the beginning I was just toying with various stories that felt interesting to tell (and I was keen, after my recent records, to write about something other than my own life and feelings for a while). Now, clearly, there is an implicit politics in the fact that, in telling lesser known stories, I’ve ended up singing about women, and I’ll stand behind that, for what it’s worth. But my initial interest was in sharing some stories that I didn’t know before, and that I suspect most people didn’t.
Nevertheless, as I say, there is a political angle to the record, and it’s one I’d like to handle sensitively. I welcome intelligent, good faith discussion of the point, actually. The main question that is being asked – and it’s a fair one – is what right I have, as a man, to write songs about women. That deserves a thoughtful response from me.
My answer comes in two parts. Firstly, for the most part, these are stories that have not and are not being told right now, and I think they deserve to be. I feel like I’m not crowding out other voices in releasing these songs. It seems to me that songs about Huda Sha’arawi and Catherine Blake, to name but two, are rather thin on the ground right now, as far as I’m aware. I’ve learned so much in researching and writing this project, and I’d like to share that knowledge. And, given the streaming world we live in, me putting out a collection of songs doesn’t lessen the bandwidth for other writers to make their own statements.
(A brief aside – there actually are a few songs out there about Sister Rosetta Tharpe, some of which I knew about and some I didn’t. She’s one of the more famous people on the album. The point of the song, for me, is that the history of rock’n’roll is inaccurately portrayed as being dominated by white men. As one of that demographic who plays that kind of music, I felt like it was good for me to acknowledge the people who actually laid the blueprints I’m following, rather than just always banging on about Elvis – as I’ve done myself in the past. Anyways – check out other songs about her by Mary Chapin Carpenter, the Noisettes, and my friend Emily Barker).
Secondly, I’d flip the question a bit. I’m a songwriter and a singer, writing and releasing (and then promoting) music is what I do. I could write another album about my own life, or I suppose a record about men from history, but I’m not sure I see the point (especially the latter option), and it doesn’t catch my creative interest right now. For better or worse, I have an audience who are interested in the music I make, and who will listen to the next album I put out. Having a platform, why not use it for something more interesting or worthwhile?
I have not tried to present this record as an aggressively feminist statement. I have no issue with that word – in fact I’m very much in favour of feminism, and equality in general. But putting that first would seem overbearing to me. I’m not trying to lead a parade I have no right to lead. My approach is perhaps best summed up by the name of a group I do a lot of work with on tour – The Ally Coalition (an LGBTQ+ rights group). It seems to me that my best contribution to all of this is to be just that, an ally, to use whatever platform I have to steer the conversation amongst my audience into better territory as best I can.
Some people have queried the lack of “prominent” female voices on the record itself. Well, I’d argue that prominence is in the eye of the beholder – all the women who played on (and produced) the record were fantastic players who are prominent in my eyes. Of course, I am ultimately singing and playing the songs that I wrote, but given my job description, that doesn’t seem especially weird to me. Naturally, my own character and viewpoint tends to come through in my own writing, like it or not. Then again, I’d argue that Mary Beard’s voice and outlook is pretty prominent in her (excellent) books, and that’s not often considered a problem.
Others have asked questions about the financial proceeds of the album. Well. Firstly, I think that people are radically over-estimating how much money someone like me makes from an album, especially one recorded in the best studios, with the best producers and players around. I might recoup on the costs one day, but that likely won’t be for a good many years. I make my living on the road. Beyond that, I’m not aware that historians are expected to donate the proceeds of their book sales to their subjects – that seems like an odd argument to me, not least because, definitionally, the subjects tend to be dead. Finally, we are of course continuing to take out activist groups on the road with us to broaden the conversation, raise funds and raise awareness, and I try my best to do as many benefit shows as I can afford.
In the final analysis, some people have said that my approach to all of this is perhaps at times a little clumsy, or could bear some further introspection. That is a potentially fair point. I’m painfully aware that, despite my best efforts, I may well get bits of my presentation of this subject wrong, and I welcome constructive criticism and correction. If other people take any of these stories and elaborate on them, or tell them better, or I discover they already have done that, I’ll shout about it from the rooftops with great joy. In the meantime, I’ll keep releasing songs and accompanying podcasts (new episodes and songs every Wednesday!) that try to go further into the details of the lives of these remarkable people. You’re all welcome to tune in and be part of the conversation.
I think it's unfortunate he's had to release a statement like that. As he says, people are thinking that he's wanting to lead a conversation that he isn't part of. Obviously as a straight white guy, maybe my view isn't as valid in this conversation, but I've always agreed with Frank's sentiment here. It's not inherently us Vs them. It shouldn't be. If somebody wants to be an ally to the cause, not lead the conversation but to support and publicise it, then what is the harm in that? Frank has always been very supportive, bringing organisations like Safe Gigs For Women out on the road with him. And I agree with his views on his platform. If anything, as a white man with a predominantly white male audience, it's great that he's introducing his fans to important issues like this. The rock scene is miles behind on issues to do with equality, so educating those people is important.
However, the end of the statement about being open to suggestions and change and will shout it from the rooftops if people say he's got it wrong, rubs me the wrong way given the Mongol Horde controversy.
Not feeling either of the new songs much and I've never liked Silent Key. My hype for this album is dropping.
If Frank Turner wrote an album about Men In History, I’m guessing there would people would be upset at him for excluding women.
My wife has heard Silent Key, Sister Rosetta, and Dora Hand, and she has not been deeply offended by the fact that Frank Turner did those songs.
I’ll say it again:
I wrote down a nice reply to my thoughts on this album concept and Frank’s past work, but I’ve come to accept that the people complaining about this record are probably just looking to fight about issues not even really related to this album, and I don’t want to give them what they want.