Monday, April 4, 2011

Poetry of the Deed by Frank Turner

Poetry of the Deed by Frank Turner
Label: Epitaph Records
Released September 8, 2009

Plot Summary: Frank Turner is a British singer/songwriter with a folk twist. His songs are built around simple acoustic guitar chords and flowing vocal melodies, then layers of sound are added in by his backup band such as bass and lead guitar. The backup band smartly allows Frank's vocals and guitar to shine, the clear strength of the band. Turner writes songs on everything from politics to drinking in the park to mourning his deceased friends. In the title track, he sings, "Life is too short to live without poetry/If you've got soul, darling, then come on and show it to me."

Critical Analysis: Turner was in a punk band called Million Dead before he decided to venture off into acoustic folk territory, but there's certainly a twinge of that punk attitude in Poetry of the Deed. Similarly, his lyrics feature that same politically-minded punk attitude. In "Sons of Liberty," he opens by singing "Once an honest man could go from sunrise to its set/Without encouraging agents from his state or government/But a sorry cloud of tyranny has fallen across the land/Brought on by the hollow men who did not understand."

As previously mentioned, Frank Turner's strength is his songwriting and vocal melodies. Nearly every song on Poetry of the Deed is worthy of multiple listens and most are likely to get stuck in your head. He is also not afraid to vary his songs. "Dan's Song" is a quick two minute barn-burner, "Sons of Liberty" has an almost pirate feel to it while "Fastest Way Back Home" is a subdued and quiet song about Turner's wife. The skill with which Turner and his band change on a dime is commendable.

One of Turner's most impressive feats is the accessibility of his album. Many of the songs are relatable to every day life. As previously mentioned, the songs have unforgettable hooks for those who love to sing along. He manages to please the punk crowd, the folk crowd, and everywhere in between. This is why I think it is a great recommendation.

Reader's Annotation: Frank Turner's Poetry of the Deed features unforgettable hooks, relatable lyrics, and a varied tracklist.

Author Information: Turner's success started with 2008's Love, Ire, and Song. His single "Long Live the Queen," a tender song about his friend's battle with disease, jumped up the radio charts in England. This garnered attention from California-based Epitaph Records and began his career stateside.

Genre: folk, acoustic

Curriculum Ties: N/A

Challenge Issues: N/A

Why I included this title: Frank Turner's music is enjoyable by a vast number of people and few know about him, so spreading the word to teens would be a good start. I have yet to meet someone who did not enjoy Turner's catchy songs and clever lyrics, and I don't think teens would be any exception.

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