April 29, 2013

"Recovery," by Frank Turner

Leaving my usual introductory witticisms at the wayside, I want to take an opportunity to wish iTunes a very happy 10th birthday! Yes, back on April 28, 2003, Apple first opened up iTunes for business - a decade later, they're giving their songs away for free. Doesn't seem like a very sound business model to me.

So happy birthday! Cakes and balloons abound! In a nontraditional birthday celebration, iTunes has given us a gift. This week's free single, "Recovery," brings us farther away from the reggae tunes that I was finally becoming accustomed to (no I wasn't) and introduces us to another English singer/songwriter that you've likely never heard of. This time, though, he's a...well, he's a "he".

Frank Turner accrued much of his fame as the lead singer of British punk group Million Dead. The band dissolved in 2005, he dropped the punk act, and embarked on an alternative, folksy solo career. Five full studio albums later, we see the release of Tape Deck Heart. The tracks on this album capitalize on the feelings associated with the fallout from a breakup. This seems to work well for Turner - it can be a pretty gritty subject, heartbreak. It allows him to bust out some of his punk influences, while also capturing the more tender, heart-wrenching aspects of breakups with his acoustic folksy tune. After listening to a smattering of the tracks on this album, you can tell that Turner has made a go at capturing the whole spectrum of emotions after a messy relationship. And it's a pretty damn good job of it.

But, the song at hand! We delve into our free single, "Recovery," below.

I am, as ever, a sucker for a song that tells a story - in this case, an autobiographical anecdote about a broken man. For some reason, I don't expect Frank's voice to come out of the body I see in the music video, but I rather like it. It's a little messy, and unconcerned with spot on pitches and perfect harmonies, but it sounds passionate. I'll take authenticity and emotion over musical perfection nine times out of 10.

We get a pleasant, steady build through the first verse, introducing the song's premise. The chorus is rich and full, busy in a kind of way that consumes you as a listener. Turner really belts on those choruses, holding nothing back, and the grit and intensity of his voice really sell these lyrics:

"It's a long road up to recovery from here, a long way back to the light. A long road up to recovery from here, a long way to making it right."

The second verse maintains some of the intensity of the volume and swells as Turner gives us some great lyrics, sacrificing poeticism for the voice of a casual story teller:

"You're not lying there any longer, and I know that that's my fault, so I've been pounding on the floor and I've been crawling up the walls and I've been dipping in my darkness for serotonin boosters, cider and some kind of smelling salts."

He wins more points for what is clearly a great taste in alcohol. The choruses are more of the same, tying together the disjunct scenes of the story Turner is writing, describing different points of his relationship with a gal that he hopes can save him from a life he feels growing stagnant and unstable. It's passionate, it's heartfelt, and I'll be damned if it isn't a good story. I'm definitely sparing some room for "Recovery" on my ever-full iPod, and may even buy a handful of tracks off of Frank Turner's album, Tape Deck Heart. Well, next month - I'm over my budget for April. But I digress! When all is said and done, I give this week's heartfelt free single

4 out of 5.

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