24 June 2018

Frank Turner - Be More Kind


Frank Turner has been at this game for an awfully long time now.  It's been thirteen years since he went solo, in that time he's released six solo records, six compilation albums, one live album (via iTunes), seven EP's, seven split releases, and played (as of 23.06.18) 2,198 shows!  The man just keeps on going like a pro, constantly moving forward with an air of determination and style.  I was lucky enough to interview him for my radio show earlier in the year and he was such a gent, complimenting my t-shirt and discussing his new record, Be More Kind.  Released on 4th May, Be More Kind has been well received by fans (a word Mr Turner is not too keen on, but I've no idea what to change to), quite well received by the general press as well.  However, with this is the seventh studio record of his career, you wonder what he has to say.  With the world seems to be going to shit,  he has written thirteen songs for this record.  So, it seems that he's quite a lot to get off his chest.  But the big question is this - how does Be More Kind hold up?

Following on from the beautiful Positive Music for Negative People (our review cleverly linked here), Be More Kind faces a huge task.  Positive Music.... arrived at the right time, dealing with the perception of depression and showing how people felt whilst struggled with mental illness.  Upon its release, Positive Music..... was given a mixed response with critics hating it.  Now, it's a much-loved album which is considered one of his best releases.   Be More Kind looks at the current state of the planet, focusing on the political situation of the planet, as well as a few songs about love in a fucked-up situation.

For me, it deals with both circumstances with grace and humility.  A lot of people have complained that Mr Turner has been too ham-fisted when it comes to his political musings. You know what, bollocks, he’s on point here!  Songs such as "1933", "Make America Great Again", "Black Out" and "21st Century Survival Blues" are brilliant.  They speak to people who are ashamed at having to witness the world regress to an apathetic state, specifically one which resulted in two of the biggest wars that humanity as a collective has endured.  The horror of "Lifeboat" and the feeling of terror behind the music is a powerful statement, one which stays with you long after the gentle guitar has finished.  For me, these are one of the best set of songs that Frank Turner has released.


But there is one thing I would change about Be More Kind if it was my release.  This is the track order.  For me at least, it's a little off.  I think ending it with two slower numbers takes the wind out of its sails.  Energy and flow, for my money, are just as important as a message when ordering an album.   It also gives the impression that the album is top heavy, with all the passion and bravado at the front.  This doesn't sink the record, it just makes me wonder if it could have been improved with a slight change.  

However, overall Be More Kind is my type of album.  Full of passions, a little political and with its heart in the right place.  It's attempting to make sense of how humanity cannot learn from its past, how we're still looking for love and wondering why we seem to let horrors return.  It's a gentle and powerful record, one which will be in in a lot of people's album of the year lists.  But the title alone is a lesson which everyone should live by, why can't we just Be More Kind?

8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart.

Top track - Make America Great Again

You can purchase Be More Kind from Amazon here.

You can visit the Frank Turner website here.

You can follow the activities of Frank Turner on Facebook here.

You can stream Be More Kind on Spotify here.

You can stream Be More Kind on Deezer here.

You can stream Be More Kind on Tidal here.

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