Although this is Sam Fenders 1st album it was the second one I heard. The reasons for that will be explained in the next installment. This album was released in 2019 when Sam Fender was 25 although he released his first single, “Play Dead”, independently in 2017. I bought this one after being blown away by his next album.
Sam Fender’s superpower is to be able to write songs about some really grim subjects but to write the song in such a way that they draw you in cos they are so bloody good. Sam has said of the title track
Its main focus is on the world around the narrator, who is a complete tin foil hatter... Amongst all the chaos is love and celebration, there is this glimmer of hope that runs through the song, a little notion that no matter what happens, these two people are gonna have a fucking good time regardless of the tyrants that run their world, and regardless of the imminent doom from these 'Hypersonic Missiles'
It’s not exactly light hearted stuff but the song itself is so good you get drawn into it, you find yourself singing along with the obvious singalong bits and that’s the way the message gets through. “The Borders” (reportedly the writers favourite song on this album) is a harrowing tale of two boys who grew up together and grew apart set to an almost Krautrock Motorik rhythm; “Will We Talk” is a glorious Springsteen influenced pop song about one night stands with a beast of a chorus; “Play God” is set in some Orwellian world and was inspired by the onset of Brexit and Trump’s rise in America; "White Privilege" addresses that thing we have just because of our skin colour, whether we like it or not, Fender has said that his white privilege "has affected my success, definitely, white boy with a guitar, fucking great, original, here comes another one.”
So you can see, not exactly moon and spoon and June, he’s got a lot to say about some uncomfortable subjects. Yet to watch him live (which I’ve only done via YouTube BTW) and see him and his audience lock into the chorus of “Will We Talk?” or “Saturday”, a classic weekend song in the vein of “Friday On My Mind” with a chorus of “If Saturday don’t come soon I’m gonna lose my mind”, is to see something akin to the nights I spent roaring along to The Jam and soaking up what Weller had to say back then.
He won a Brit Award for this album which he donated to the pub where he was discovered and they use it as a beer pull. Sam Fender writes great songs, he’s got something to say and says it in a way that makes you want to listen. More power to him I say.
Will We Talk ? - https://youtu.be/O1lAx0ruzQk (Live at Reading Festival)