I’m going to see my one true love Frank Turner on Sunday night. Those who know me know my absolute obsession (I’m truly sorry, not sorry) with this “skinny half-arsed English country singer“…he is skinny but he’s not really a country singer. Ex Million Dead singer, punk/folk/rock/acoustic…bloody genius.
I’m obsessed with him because of words. I’m all about the words when it comes to music (movies, friends, relationships, Dan Savage “use your words”). He is a wordsmith…and I love me a wordsmith.
Like it was yesterday, though it was five years ago, I remember the night FT was gifted to me. I’m pretty sure it was my first visit to The Joker’s little house in Blacktown. He’d made me dinner (A MAN HAD MADE ME DINNER!!) and we were sitting on his sofa when he asked me if I’d heard of this guy. Nope, I said.
He proceeded to play me Substitute and it was a moment, a big moment. I looked into his sparkly but sad blue eyes and thought “how the absolute fuck do I not fall in love with this man”. Because if this was the song he wanted to share with me first up there was deep shit behind the facade. Quickly realising his error he played Photosynthesis, probably to lighten the mood, but it only made things worse. I was in deep baby. And Frank Turner was to blame.
Anyway this isn’t the story of my doomed love affair with The Joker, it isn’t even a story about my ever deepening love affair with the newly engaged Mr Turner.
This is a little story about words. How I love them; how they have all the power. To make us laugh, cry, despair and hope. To give us strength and to shatter us beyond redemption.
I’m not much into instrumentals and I don’t have any time for orchestral music. I understand intellectually that some music might be good but if there are no words or if the words don’t resonate in my mind and heart than it means nothing to me (oh, Vienna)…sorry…
It doesn’t always have to be deep and meaningful. The Ramones’ Hey Ho Let’s Go is a clarion call without being Shakespearean.
I love clever word play, I love humour in songs, the darker the better. Love me a musical comedy genius…. Tim Minchin, Weird Al, the Tenacious D boys, Flight of the Conchords…is there anything better? Rhetorical question.
Then of course there’s the dark without the humour. When I want to rub salt into the wound there’s always Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits. Suffer, baby.
What I wouldn’t do for that talent. To make people feel. To be able to wrangle words in a way that encapsulates a moment of the human condition.
As Tim Minchin said, us humans “we’re just fucking monkeys in shoes”…true, but we do have words. And I’m all about the words. When they’re wrapped in a song they are truly a gift that keeps on giving.
4 thoughts on “Words, don’t come easy”
I love Frank Turner. I love the rhythmic cadence of his lyrics, his intelligence, voice and wit. My band covered his song “The way I tend to be”, which is one of my favorite songs of his. He reminds me a bit of a young Elvis Costello.
I love that song…ok, all his songs. His intelligence, his wit, yes. Not many people know him so it’s great to come across someone who does.
There’s an excellent interview on the show “Guitar Center Sessions”. The entire hour is on Turner. It’s worth the search to listen to him. Plus, he does about 4 songs live.
Totally agree it’s a lot about the words but also to me, the divine juncture between words AND music – meaning and melody. Then other music is just as wonderful for making me forget through dirty rhythm and bass.