Opening with ‘Don’t Worry’, Frank Turner’s latest album begins with an almost gospel like call for humanity, albeit with a hint of his signature folk style thrown in for good measure, to unite and connect with one another, like we all did in the days before social media took over our lives. ‘1933’ is an undeniably obvious dig at the politicians of the world – here’s looking at you May and Trump – who seem to live in their own little world and never truly take into consideration what THE PEOPLE want from them and for their futures.
‘Little Changes’ has a brilliant 80’s pop feel to it and is a perfect little number to sing along to now that the summer is approaching, while the albums’ title track sees Turner return to his folk roots and with a beautiful melody, despite being a comparatively simplistic song, it’s also perhaps THE song on the album that those who hear it will be reflecting on long after it’s finished.
Donald Trump finds himself the target of Turner’s frustrations once again via ‘Let’s Make America Great Again’, a song which, rather like The Script’s ‘Divided States Of America’, from their latest album Freedom Child, addresses the troubles and seemingly constant decline of the country under his rule and the many issues he’s either causing division or total uproar over. The solution, Turner suggests, is: “Let’s make compassion in fashion again.”
Turner has never been shy of addressing love and relationships through his music, so it’s of little surprise to find a straight-up love song featured on the album in the form of ‘Going Nowhere’. It’s perhaps not the strongest he’s ever written, but it’s sure to resonate with both singletons and those who spend their time in the company of a loved one. He then switches things up considerably with ‘Brave Face’, a strong folk-rock number that’ll be a perfect accompaniment to anyone taking a road trip or heading out on an adventure.
If there’s one stand-out track on the album, it’s ‘21st Century Survival Blues’. Both lyrically and melodically, it’s old school Frank Turner at his best, and is sure to go down a storm when he tours and performs it live with his band The Sleeping Souls. ‘Blackout’ comes a close second, thanks to the impressive instrumentation and anyone who has grown up on a council estate, or currently lives on one, and knows the many issues that can arise from doing so will find themselves nodding along to certain lyrics (give it a listen and you’ll see what I mean).
The album closes out with three songs that are considerably similar to one another. Normally, this would make the tracks sound quite dull and repetitive, but Turner has always had a knack of making such songs stand out against one another, and that’s exactly what happens here. The three tracks, ‘Common Ground’, ‘The Lifeboat’ and ‘Get It Right’ combined are perfect lazy summer day, touching, thoughtful folk songs that anyone can and should enjoy when either on a drive, out in their garden or when chilling out with their friends; it’s truly great to see and hear an album end in a way that leaves listeners – myself included – feeling uplifted.
Ultimately, taking the somewhat bold step of addressing the issues that matter not only to Frank Turner, but millions around the world, Be More Kind is yet another fantastic collection from one of the UK’s most established and much loved artists.
Be More Kind is released on May 4th through Polydor.