Saturday, November 10, 2012

Songs That Capture a Mood: “Love Ire and Song”

The title track to Frank Turner’s 2008 sophomore full-length record Love Ire & Song is quintessential Turner—irreverent lyrics filled with both hope and despair, critical of just about everyone (singer included), that talk of disgust with political protest, the feeling of defeat that came come with growing older, and the desire to hold on to the energy and pure heartedness of youth.


Well a teacher of mine once told me
That life was just a list of disappoints and defeats
And you could only do your best,
And I said "That's a fucking cop-out, you're just washed up and your tired,
and when I get to your age I won't be such a coward"
But these day I sit at home, known to shout at my TV
And Punk Rock didn't live up to what I hoped that it could be
And all the things that I believed with all my heart when I was young
Are just coasters for beers and clean surfaces for drugs
And I packed all my pamphlets with my bibles at the back of the shelf

Well it was bad enough the feeling, and the first time it hit
When you realized your parents had let the world all go to shit
And that the values and ideals for which many had fought and died
Had been killed off in the committees and left to die by the wayside
But it was worse when we turned to the kids on the left
And got let down again by some poor excuse for protest
Yeah by idiot fucking hippies in 50 different factions
Who are locked inside some kind of 60's battle re-enactment
And I hung-up my banner in disgust and I head for the door

Oh but once we were young, and we were crass enough to care
But I guess you live and learn, we won't make that mistake again, no
Oh but surely just for one day, we could fight and we could win
And if only for a little while, we could insist on the impossible

Well we've been a good few hours drinking
So I'm going to say what everyone's thinking
If we're stuck on this ship and it's sinking
Then we might as well have a parade
Cos if it's still going to hurt in the morning
And a better plan's set to get forming
Then where's the harm spending an evening
In manning the old barricades, so come on old friends to the streets
Let's be 1905 but not 1917, let's be heroes,
Let's be martyrs, let's be radical thinkers
Who never have to test drive the least of their dreams
Let's divide up the world into the damned and safe
And then ride to the valleys like the old life brigade
And straighten our backs and we won't be afraid
And they'll celebrate our deaths with a national parade

So come on let's be young, let's be crass enough to care
Let's refuse to live and learn, let's make all our mistakes again yes
And then darling, just for one day, we can fight and we can win
And if only for a little while, we could insist on the impossible
Leave the mourning the to the morning
Yeah pain can be killed
With aspirin tablets and vitamin pills
But memories of hope, and glorious defeat
Are a little bit harder to beat

In the wake of the 2012 presidential election, the barrage of ranting and chanting this and that online, the cacophonies of joyous celebration and unbelievable outrage are defining.  The deluge of emotions runs the gambit and while many are giddy or frothing at the mouth, I am indifferent to the whole thing.  Watching people on the various sides of the American political spectrum go completely apeshit is both amusing and disturbing, while at the same time being kind of pathetic.  I have a great hope for our future because I can see our potential as a people, despite the often abhorrent behavior displayed online.  To me, “Love Ire & Song” speaks directly to that bewilderment while taking everyone down a peg.  People need to get off of their high horses and stop treating their follow citizens, their fellow humans, as animals and enemies.  This song sums up that sentiment perfectly. 

As an added bonus, here is an excellent live performance by Mr. Turner, taking on this song with just his voice and his guitar.   

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