Search This Blog

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Frank Turner - Tape Deck Heart

I don't know if I like Frank Turner.
Over the years I've heard good songs and bad songs and I'm still looking to hang my hat comfortably on something, but it's not happening.
On Tape Deck Heart I can tap my toe along to it, even listen to the lyrics and consider that they are fine, but at the same time I keep coming back to thinking he's chart fodder.
That he is writing songs for a wide demographic with an eye on the hit single.
Rebellion wrapped up in an x-factor sheen.
He's Ed Sheeran with a Billy Bragg fixation.
It's not dire, but it's just not got enough rough to it to balance out the smooth.
If Mumford and Sons were to write an album of tracks steeped in social commentary then this would be it.
Okay....lets just get to the point.
This is a pop album.
There's nothing wrong with that, but at the same time Turners whole career is sort of promoted as him being a bit of a punk rock troubadour and therein lies the problem.
There's an aspect of it that is claiming to be something that it's not.
It's a very good pop album, and if it leads to listeners seeking out the folk and punk roots that are alluded to then that's great.
If one person picks up a Billy Bragg album after listening to this then I'd pat Frank on the back and say 'job well done mate'.
I don't think I'll hold my breath though.
It's probably going to be a huge hit and the world will still turn, but I'm still not getting enough from it to feel any sort of pull that could keep a grip of me.
Am I the only one who keeps coming back to thinking that there are others doing this better?


  1. I agree to an extent. I am a huge fan of the earlier stuff. But the new album is too mellow and pop-py. I want my favorite former anarchist back! I want to be inspired as I have been in the past. He might be gaining a new fan base, but if I am not alone, he just might be losing the fans that got him here in the first place.

  2. I don't think he has ever been an anarchist. He's a self professed libertarian.
    When I first heard him I was interested, but there was always something that I wasn't keying into and I couldn't put my finger on it.
    It always seemed lightweight, and while he had all the trappings of a protest singer I suspected faux passion
    Even then I still couldn't have went out and claimed that to be why I wasn't buying into what he does though.
    Then his background came out and it would be easy to say I was turned off by the class status, but I'm a great admirer of Tony Benn and I don't think people should be judged by where they came from, but instead by where their heart lies.
    So it wasn't that, and if anyone asked me why I didn't like him I was clutching at straws to provide a real answer.
    Then his political views trickled out.
    I've now come to the conclusion that he's the Emperors new clothes who is rooted in a certain style of conservatism that he shares with other Etonians.
    Now I'm in the position of saying 'I always knew he was a wrong 'un', and the lightweight nature of his music on this album sort of highlights that when you strip away the outer shell he's not the protest singer that some think.
    Maybe some US punks who work with him will wake up to that soon, but then again the US is the home of a certain type of Libertarian and they might not have the issues with him that I do.
    Obviously I tried to miss all that out and just review the album for what it is, but with every release, press statement and interview I'm less impressed with him.