At the risk of turning this into a Frank Turner fan page, I have to put up some more clips. I stand by my opinion that Turner may be Springsteen’s heir (or one of them, at least) — the poet of South London finding kinship with the poet of New Jersey. Check out Springsteen’s 1978 performance of “Jungleland” and then see how Turner wields the same fierce electric urgency and storytelling flair — the gritty details, the vivid characters, the grim sense of living with mediocrity and lost dreams that somehow gives way to a sort of transcendence:
His lyrics could have been ripped right out of the Boss’s notebook:
Justin is the last of the great romantic poets, and he’s the only one among us who is ever going to make it. We planned a revolution from a cheap Southampton bistro. I don’t remember details but there were English boys with banjos. Jay is our St George, and he’s standing on a wooden chair, and he sings songs and he slays dragons, and he’s losing all his hair. Adam is the resurrected spirit of Gram Parsons, in plaid instead of rhinestone and living in South London. and no one’s really clear about Tommy’s job description, but it’s pretty clear he’s vital to the whole damn operation. Dave Danger smiles at strangers, Tre’s the safest girl I know, Zo and Harps will skamper up to victory in the city we call home.
We won’t change our ways, we will proud remain when the glory fades.
This one made me cry:
And this is as eloquent a plea as I’ve ever seen for loosening up and joining the human party:
Also — and again like Springsteen — Turner shows himself an antiauthoritarian, a political firebrand on the side of the people:
“A man who’d trade his liberty for a safe and dreamless sleep doesn’t deserve the both of them, and neither shall he keep.” Well said; Benjamin Franklin would have been proud.
There’s much more, I’m sure. What a pleasure to discover a new musical favorite.
Update: Turner apparently isn’t averse to making the Springsteen connection himself; here he is, covering “Thunder Road.” Nice.
Also, an extended acoustic set here.