“Blacking in and out in a strange flat in East London, somebody I don’t really know gave me something to help settle me down and stop me from always thinking about you.” – I don’t know about you but when the opening track to an album touches on drug use, East London and constantly thinking about somebody, it usually has me hooked. There’s something relatable about doing stupid things in random places to help you in doing an ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind‘, right? Or is that just me?
Anyway…’Tape Deck Heart’ is probably the best thing Frank Turner has ever created. Unless he’s a dad, in which case his offspring will always be the greatest byproduct, but in a situation where he’s childless, ‘Tape Deck Heart‘ wins. I’ve been a massive fan of his since about 2008, when somebody I didn’t really like posted the link to ‘Reasons Not To Be An Idiot‘ on their Facebook. Now, I really wanted to dislike it, to be able to slate their music taste like the judgemental 15 year old I once was but that was definitely not the case. I fell in love with Frank’s philosophical honesty, his lyrics that remained in your head for days after you’d first heard them and the way the majority of his songs always sound like a drunken rant. Although every single one of his albums have been completely on point and beautifully created, ‘Tape Deck Heart‘ is one that particularly stands out for me, as my favourite. Maybe it’s the mix of acoustic-y ballads such as ‘Good & Gone’, anthemic tunes reminiscent of an early creation of The Sex Pistols (before they got too ‘Never Mind The Bollocks‘) like ‘Recovery‘ for example and songs that draw inspiration from Frank’s own political musings – ‘The Fisher Kings Blues‘ being my favourite; “and though it seems a little strange to me, people never really change, it seems. We’re all broken boys and girls, at heart, come together, fall apart.” I mean how can you listen to these lyrics and not feel the need to high five the person next to you, simply because it seems song writing is back ON track? Forget whichever rapper is top dog at the moment, singing about popping bottles or going hard because he won’t go home…Frank Turner has just created one of the most beautiful albums I’ve witnessed to be released in the last 20 years and it’s time we all played it, REALLY fucking loud. Let’s take solace in the fact that we’re all a little bit messed up, we all like to drink too much and end up confessing secrets to a stranger in a dirty old bar and we all regret it the next day…but Frank Turner has just released an album that says everything we all need dutch courage – or five whiskeys – to say. Finally we can all just be honest with ourselves whilst playing songs such as ‘Plain Sailing Weather‘ and admit that it’s okay to be a bit of a fuck up – because Frank Turner has admitted it too.
‘Wherefore Art Thou Gene Simmons?’ is another track that stands out for me, not only because it draws reference to the KISS member but because it’s a song that truly gives me goosebumps. Asking questions such as “does your mother know who you are now?”, this song makes you look inside of yourself, question exactly what Frank’s asking you and wonder how to make things better…it’s like self-help made simple, in a 3 minutes, 35 seconds song.
The entire album is ambiguous, and when you listen to it it’s easy to imagine it being played in an Irish pub in Stockwell at 2am in the morning, but it’s also easy to imagine Frank himself playing it at a festival at 6pm in the evening, to a crowd made up of drunken blokes confessing their love for their ladies and women looking for love in the form of the nearest bloke with a beer in his hand and the least amount of sunburn.
With ‘Tape Deck Heart’, Turner has unleashed a revolutionary album consisting of some of the best break-up songs and hedonistic pub anthems I’ve heard in a really long time. Similar to Billy Bragg, using metaphoric lyrics to captivate listeners, balancing heartache and humour with exceptional precision, Frank Turner has just created the perfect album for a Saturday night singalong, easing you gently into a 22 track headlock from the get go.
Destined for audiences over the world to be singing, crying and laughing along with it, I’m not entirely sure which genre ‘Tape Deck Heart’ best fits into: punk, folk, indie, punk rock… Frank Turner is one of the few artists who can maintain the camaraderie of a genre so confusingly honest that you need a bit of a laugh to accompany the strength of the truth, whilst highlighting it’s more rebellious aspects as well. It’s not everyday an album is created that makes you crave the grittiness of the truth in such a dishonest world, alongside a pint of Guinness but I’m certain Frank Turner has just come to the rescue.