Frank Turner

TrackAlbum / EP
WanderlustEngland Keep My Bones
(Bonus Track)
RedemptionEngland Keep My Bones
Peggy Sang The BluesEngland Keep My Bones
MittensPositive Songs For Negative People
Glorious YouPositive Songs For Negative People
Least Of All Young CarolineMittens EP
Don't WorryBe More Kind
The Ballad Of Me And My FriendsSleep Is For The Week
A Love Worth KeepingLove, Ire & Song
Polaroid PictureTape Deck Heart

Frank Turner photo 1

 

 

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Frank Turner playlist

 

 

Contributor: Laura Dean

I’ve been eager to write for Toppermost for a while – it offers such a great opportunity to wear your heart on your sleeve a bit more in your writing and it’s safe to say that I’ve done exactly that whilst compiling this list of my top ten Frank Turner songs.

For those who don’t know Frank, he’s a singer-songwriter from Hampshire who began his career as the vocalist of the post-hardcore band, Million Dead. When the band split in 2005, he embarked on an acoustic-based solo career and has delved into various genres in his work since – both with and without his talented band, The Sleeping Souls.

I got to know Frank through my school friend Lauren, who’s a big fan – when we were at university, I visited her student flat in Sheffield and she was singing his praises about his gig at The Plug a few months earlier. The gig was sold out and after bumping into Frank outside, he put her on the guest list, which I remember thinking was so lovely – I’ve since discovered that this is a very Frank thing to do! When I got home, I checked him out and it wasn’t much later that he released his fourth studio album, England Keep My Bones.

Bringing things back to the present day, Frank’s currently celebrating the tenth anniversary of England Keep My Bones and is set to play it in full at Camden Roundhouse in September, which I believe to be a perfect introduction to my first three choices – Peggy Sang The Blues, Redemption and Wanderlust.

Possessing some of my favourite Frank lyrics (“No one gets remembered for the things they didn’t do”), Peggy Sang The Blues is a tribute to Frank’s grandmother – with its funky bassline and generally joyous nature, it’s no surprise that it’s a fan favourite at his live shows.

Redemption is a total contrast to Peggy Sang The Blues – despite its gorgeous piano melody, the crashing instrumentation and emotional fragility in Frank’s voice gives the track a raw power that far from disappoints.

Similar to Redemption, Wanderlust is a downtempo track with a hauntingly beautiful melody, though if you spend some time taking in the lyrics, it’s actually pretty heart-wrenching. Wanderlust is probably my favourite Frank Turner track, so it blows my mind on a frequent basis that it’s only a bonus track – looking on the bright side, I guess that’s just a perfect indication of how strong the album is!

Revisiting Frank’s debut album, Sleep Is For The Week, is always a pleasure and there’s no denying that The Ballad Of Me And My Friends is one of the best album closers in existence. Until the release of Frank’s Songbook compilation, there wasn’t a studio version of The Ballad Of Me And My Friends, but that wasn’t a problem as the live version on Sleep Is For The Week is 2 minutes and 33 seconds of pure euphoria. Goosebump inducing from the start, the track oozes with not just the atmosphere from Frank’s live shows, but the passion from both himself and his audience.

Chronologically, it makes sense to introduce A Love Worth Keeping next, from Frank’s second studio album, Love, Ire & Song. Alongside Jet Lag, A Love Worth Keeping is the most open and heartfelt song on the album. Despite the delicate nature of its lyrics, the track is packed with stunning instrumentation; including a beautiful violin solo. A truly underrated gem!

Things get a little heavier with my next choice – Polaroid Picture from Frank’s fifth album, Tape Deck Heart. The Sleeping Souls serve him particularly well on this track, intertwining crashing guitars and drums alongside a semi-mournful piano melody and their harmonious backing vocals. Polaroid Picture is a sentimental track about not just the importance of making memories, but also of moving on from them. Lyrically, the track’s a real heart-tugger and lines like “we won’t all be here this time next year, so while you can, take a picture of us” strike even harder at the minute, during the times of uncertainty that covid has presented us with.

Though it’s not my favourite album, Positive Songs For Negative People is perhaps the one that’s most important to me – it was released at a time when there was a lot of uncertainty in my life and I have wonderful memories of seeing Frank play tracks from it over the sunny Summer of 2015. Mittens and Glorious You are the two standout tracks for me, alongside Least Of All Young Caroline, which isn’t on the album but was released as part of the Mittens EP the following year. Written with the intention to cheer his cousin up when she was going through a rough patch, the relatable Glorious You will find a home in anybody who’s ever felt like they weren’t good enough. Having once described his shows as an attempt to lift the weight of the world for a few hours, Frank penned the lyric “come on now if we all pull together, we can lift up the weight of the world from your shoulders” and that’s exactly what the track does.

The most recently released track I’ve chosen is Don’t Worry from Frank’s Be More Kind album – showcasing Frank’s acoustic side and brimming with hope, it’s a comforting song that boasts the strong wit and poetic flow that we’ve come to expect from Frank’s lyrics.

Since Be More Kind, Frank has released No Man’s Land – a historic/storytelling record that sees him take a pretty traditional folk approach whilst drawing attention to extraordinary women whose amazing lives were overlooked due to their gender. Later this year, he’ll be releasing his ninth studio album, FTHC.

I haven’t seen Lauren in a while, but I was barely a couple of sentences into this article before I got in touch with her – fingers crossed we’ll get the chance to see a show together once normal service has resumed! As her tattoo from Frank’s track Long Live The Queen says, “we live to dance another day”.

 

 

Frank Turner photo 2

Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls

 

Frank Turner official website

Frank Turner facebook

The Sleeping Souls facebook

Frank Turner Discography

Guardian interview (2013)

Independent interview (2017)

Frank Turner Live – Lowlands Festival Holland 2019

Frank Turner – Live from Wembley 2012 (DVD)

Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls – full set Reading Festival 2013

“The Road Beneath My Feet” by Frank Turner (Headline 2016)

“Try This At Home: Adventures In Songwriting” by Frank Turner (Headline 2019)

Try This At Home – Frank Turner’s YouTube series

Frank Turner biography (AllMusic)

Based in the North West of England, Laura Dean is a writer with a fondness for denim jackets, vinyl and video games. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram and Linktree.

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