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Sam Fender - Seventeen Going Under Music Album Reviews

Sam Fender - Seventeen Going Under Music Album Reviews
With classic rock ambition and full-hearted sincerity, the 27-year-old British songwriter hits his stride when looking inward but fumbles when casting his gaze toward society at large.

In “Seventeen Going Under,” the title track of Sam Fender’s second album, the 27-year-old British songwriter meditates on anger, fistfights, an ailing family member, and the rising debt accrued from a pitiless Department of Work and Pensions. Paired with a jangly electric guitar part and an unrelenting backbeat, his words conjure both angst and beauty, holding your attention from start to finish. It is his best song yet. As a child, Fender idolized Bruce Springsteen; now his work attempts to outrun his long shadow. But while Seventeen Going Under excels when Fender looks inward, the intimacy is disrupted by scattered political musings.

In the album’s most successful moments, Fender reexamines his teenage years. He confronts his father on the moody heartland rocker “Spit of You,” which features dazzling interplay between guitars, saxophone, and mandolin. Witnessing his father’s vulnerability after the death of a grandparent, Fender embraces a new perspective on their strained relationship: “You kissed her forehead and it ran like a tap,” he sings. “And I’d never seen you like that.” On the title track, he returns to a pivotal memory—“The boy who kicked Tom’s head in/Still bugs me now”—and reflects on his own growth: “I was far too scared to hit him/But I would hit him in a heartbeat now.”

Fender’s lyrics shine when putting his adolescence under a microscope, but they flounder when aiming binoculars at the world. On “Paradigms,” Fender tackles oligarchs, pedophiles, and “marketing masterminds.” In the style of “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” “Aye” jumps from Jesus’ crucifixion to the atom bomb, from Boudica to Jeffrey Epstein, but it never sticks the landing, with Fender saying everything and nothing at once. Perhaps it’s a symptom of being a rock star in the age of Instagram infographics: He often defines himself by what he isn’t rather than what he is. (“I’m not a fucking singer anymore,” goes one lyric. “I’m not a fucking liberal anymore.”)

Sometimes Fender’s big ideas are better achieved through his arrangements, as in the slow-building tension of “Get You Down,” which erupts in a guitar-saxophone duel and climaxes with a swarm of strings. There’s no hiding the influence of Springsteen’s lyrical prowess and the E Street Band’s orchestral grandeur on Fender’s work, as well as the Boss’ 21st-century acolytes like the War on Drugs and the Killers. As clearly as he follows in the legacy of these influences, however, Fender’s full-hearted sincerity feels refreshing and entirely his own.

Fender’s singing ranges from a Glastonbury yawp to a thick-accented sprechgesang, and he accompanies himself on a wide range of instruments including bass, piano, mandolin, glockenspiel, and harmonica. But while Seventeen Going Under attempts to conjure a full spectrum of memories and emotion, the sterile production sometimes limits its effect. The record closes on its rawest song, and also one of its most affecting, “The Dying Light.” It opens like a late-night confessional, played on a dusty piano after everyone else has left the pub, but it quickly transforms into a cathartic singalong. It plays like an encapsulation of Fender’s entire life to this point, gaining speed and confidence as it proceeds.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Sam Fender - Seventeen Going Under Music Album Reviews Sam Fender - Seventeen Going Under Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 Rating: 5

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