Frank Turner “Be More Kind”
Perhaps inevitably, given how long he’s been around, Frank Turner has got a bit of grief over his change in style. People seem far too keen to accuse him of ‘selling out’ just because he is no longer the angry punk from Million Dead! Ironically many of those people probably didn’t even listen to him then anyhow! Also, how many of us haven’t changed over the past seventeen years? So, this record appropriately marks another step in his progress to world domination.
He certainly seems to be on a mission with this album. You may not have seen Frank as a self-help guru but in many ways that’s what this album represents. Indeed, he recognises the irony of that himself with the lyrics “stop asking musicians what they think” on the track “1933”. Songs like “Don’t Worry, “Going Nowhere” and “21st Century Survival Blues” don’t just offer up great modern pop/rock songs but also a reflection on what life should be about. He may not be so ‘shouty’ but he still has some important messages. The key one here seems to be to love yourself and others. Although, as much as we love Frank, even we think he might be being ambitious with his attempt to change America with “Make America Great Again”.
Even if you don’t want to listen to what Frank has to say, you’d have to have a stone heart not to love the melodies of songs like “Little Changes”. Maybe he does have his eye on a bit more commercial success but when the music is as joyful as tracks like those and “Brave Face” then quite frankly we don’t care. There’s even a slight disco sound to “Blackout” which shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise given his love for an Abba cover!
Maturity may be seen as a dirty word in music but you have to be impressed with the way that he can now deliver such finely crafted songs as “Be More Kind”, “There She Is” and “Get It Right”. They have a sense of fragility that until recently you wouldn’t have expected. But, as with everything Mr Turner does, there’s just a sense of warmth and honesty to the tracks.
Frank has now progressed through angry punk to folk/rock troubadour until he can now be regarded as a UK music legend. Indeed, we wouldn’t be surprised to see references to ‘national treasure’! For us, we are glad that we have had the opportunity to join him on that musical and indeed personal journey. We’re also glad that the UK is still able to produce such an icon, so let’s rejoice in this release.