Do you like listening to music? Are you a straight, white male in your mid-20’s? Do you enjoy reading anniversary pieces on records that accurately convey a quarter-life crisis marked by problems that you know comparatively aren’t really a big deal in the grand scheme of the ailments of a cold, dark world? If you answered yes to one or more of these pressing questions, then Frank Turner has a record for you! It is also that records 10th birthday, so let’s help blow out some candles.
Concerning Love Ire & Song’s ten year marker quickly passing by, Frank Turner’s evolution of a punk turned poet-laureate is a moment captured in history where the manifestation hadn’t quite set in, but was soon becoming. He was growing older, though still full of youth relatively speaking. Even so, where Turner in the present decade has reached a point of acceptance and routine in his life, Love Ire & Song Frank knows that moment of actualization looms on the horizon, but is nonetheless ringing it in with every last ounce of angst sweating through his pores. “I Knew Prufrock Before He Hot Famous” is the creed setting the album off. As he shouts with acoustic guitar, building into an ensemble of the rest of the band slowly coming into frame, the fact of the matter remains clear.
…the only thing that’s left to do is live
After all of the loving and the losing, all the heroes and the pioneers
The only thing that’s left to do is get another round in at the bar.
The fact of the matter is that you’re more ordinary than you may have once thought.
I’m turning 30 in a few years myself, and though I don’t sit at home listening to The Smiths like Frank Turner on “Reasons Not to Be an Idiot”, I instead take a more American approach by moping around to I.R.S. era R.E.M. To think that kind of self-loathing and unhealthy reflection was a thing you drop is perhaps misguided. Buddy, I still can’t live down some of my greatest hit middle school blunders. I guess you either think of those things lying awake at night, or of lost loves like Turner surmises on “Substitute”.
Embarrassing moments aside, adolescence is still gone for me and Frank, or at least half gone.
On one hand my friends do in fact have wives, kids, and mortgages, but I myself can find adventure and joy in the seemingly unfulfilling parts of life. I take vacation days whenever I want, and play Nintendo Switch without a care in the world! Turner wraps back around to that often on Love Ire & Song. His Jekyll and Hyde dichotomy of living a malaise wannabe lifestyle and the seemingly warm feelings of life’s small moments makes for a compelling case study of the modern millennial even ten years after the records release.
There’s a heavy wall of ironic self-loathing, but above all, things could be worse. If that ain’t all of us escaping the horrors of the dumbest newscycle in modern history day in and day out, then I don’t know what is. Maybe Frank Turner is a prophet of sorts in the way current events all seem to transpire in a jumbled mess on various social media platforms. After all, his Twitter account present day seems much more focused on the good versus the bad. For every ailment, there’s a cure. For every positive song he writes, there’s a negative person underneath the facade.
Love Ire & Song stands on its own merits a decade later certainly for its timeless themes of life’s ups and downs.
Heck, the message is right in the name of the album. Even better, it’s an important evolution of Frank Turner’s prowess as a musician. Time and time again, his lyrics detail anecdotal tails of how life as a punk never lived up to all it was imagined to be in his own mind. Nonetheless, he is still punk in his roots. We define his music as folk-punk music. He has side projects consisting of punk elements, the screaming and the like. Turner will never truly escape the label, because the raw emotion and earnestness in his voice is always a remnant of how he once was. Only now, he’s wiser, smarter, and still just as eager as he was back in 2008.
The track record is in his fervor for playing shows (2148 and counting to be exact). So that’s the only eulogy he needs in the words of the man himself directly following Love Ire & Song’s undecipherable conclusions. The future is a blank slate, and the journey immerses him one way or another.