(Planet Me)
Monday, April 22, 2013
FRANK TURNER, Tape Deck Heart

Britains best songwriter returns. They don't make 'em like the used to. Unless you're Frank Turner. An album every two years. 1,400 live shows in 7 years and counting. And, unlike many artists, who use their good ideas up in the first five years - and after which, fade into embarrassing irrelevancy and tired xeroxes of greater moments - Frank Turner, the guitar-slinging, jetset, crime-fighting heartbreaker and troubador, offers us his fifth solo album in seven years with "Tape Deck Heart". Once again, a man and his guitar, and his muse, give us a slab of great songs.

Songs that I would not have imagined. Songs that I cannot live without. Songs like "Tell Tale Signs". Turner is growing old, and so are we, and songs like this are the ones that show us that inside everyone is a story, and some of the stories are ones we all share. How it feels to be there, how we have all been there - the names of the actors may have changed, but we are all here, and the song remains the same. I need someone who sings from his heart and means it. Names have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty.

And here we are. Melodies that anyone can remember. Music made with integrity, ideals, about real things, about the world we live in, about getting drunk, waking up with regrets, about a million things and everything. And every song has some words so utterly astute in seeing the world that they will inevitably be tattooed on someone's body somewhere. And rightly so.

Anyone who can write a song about the closing of the London Astoria and make it sound like a hymn fighting against the inexorable progress of capitalism wins in my book. "Polaroid Picture" is such a song, and it captures for me, the same sense of futile regret that came when they closed the best venue in London. "Tape Deck Heart" is just like other Frank Turner albums ; a selection of rousing, smart songs with huge choruses and a heart the size of a country designed to make lives better, because sometimes, we have no choice but to write songs and be the change we want to see in the world. "Nobody makes it out alive", he sings. Never a truer word sung.

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