Frank Turner
The Second Three Years


4.0
excellent

Review

by Adam Knott EMERITUS
November 24th, 2011 | 46 replies | 10,526 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: If you can picture Frank Turner singing "Build Me Up Buttercup" with a bitter and frustrated tone, you can almost imagine the brilliance of his new "rarities" compilation .

Much as I adore England Keep My Bones, I think I might finally understand why some people prefer Love, Ire & Song and even, dare I say, why a few actively dislike Frank Turner's 2011 release. I hadn't realised these things until I listened to The Second Three Years, Turner's patchwork quilt of B-sides and covers from the second half of his career as a solo artist. England Keep My Bones was tight, and there was a looseness to Frank's first two records which endeared it to people; where "Prufrock" sounded like it had been invented on the spot, tracks like "Peggy Sang The Blues" felt written down. This didn't bother me, but I reckon it irked factions of the folk-rock singer-songwriter's fanbase because they felt trapped outside the album's idea of a song rather than welcomed inside the bars as was the case on tracks like "Jet Lag".

I wrote a top-marks review for England (which has since dropped by half a point), so don't get me wrong, but The Second Three Years benefits most of the time from the absence of so much solidity in both its songwriting approach and its structure. The feel is one of sitting in on the best parts of Turner screwing around, playing songs he loves and songs he's three-quarters written that never took on the layers of "Glory Hallelujah" or "The Journey Of The Magi", and the result is just mindblowingly smirk-inducing, because there's something incalculable and jaw-dropping about the way Frank Turner sees story-telling and the effortless brilliance within cuts like "Song For Eva Mae". The manner in which he expresses to his goddaughter his own failings and his advice for, well, everything, without it seeming like a grand concept - this type of thing has always been the core of Turner's lyricism, and it's lovely to see it take centre-stage.

And so when you reach his cover of "Build Me Up Buttercup" you expect it to imitate the Foundations' carefree visage, but here's another thing you might have forgotten about Turner: he's so, so capable of stopping you dead in your tracks. At least 50% of the songs here that aren't his own don't feel like they were written by someone else; during the sublime "Last Christmas" it swirls and sways so much it's hard to even remember Wham!'s original; Springsteen's "Thunder Road" is an enthralling listen from top to bottom. But even as Frank Turner screams - yeah, screams - "I'll give it to someone special!", it's clear that he's already doing that, because you can hear him grinning behind the verses, and those grins don't say, "Hey, look, a novelty cover!" They say that this is a song he's found a soul in and they bring that out in all its glory.

So The Second Three Years is a reminder of everything that makes Frank Turner the unbelievably lovable songwriter he is. His attempts to connect with his listeners aren't attempts at all - they're just the way his mind works. What counts is the difference on "Build Me Up Buttercup" between the "ooh"s of the original and the "ohh" (singular) of Turner's interpretation; these are vocalisations that nobody can really explain the beauty within, and it becomes apparent through this set of less-than-polished songs that the way Frank Turner's head works is the way, in short, a lot of people want their favourite bands' to. So yeah, it's not perfect; a couple of tracks here and there aren't as stunning as what surrounds them. The whole deal on The Second Three Years is that Turner's cobbled together a collection of songs from his last 36 months and he has faith that their - and perhaps his - inherent beauty will carry them. It finds the heart of everything from "The Reak Damage" through to "Glory Hallulejah" and is content to let that heart meander at its own pace, and a result it rivals his more deliberate studio releases, breathtaking as they are.



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user ratings (23)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Knott-
Emeritus
November 25th 2011



10193 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is just so Frank Turner at its heart that it's impossible not to love. I can see it breaking my 2011 Top 10 (or perhaps 15) and it is, honestly, a superb collection of tracks.

His version of Build Me Up Buttercup, though I don't want to dwell on it, is amazing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-urkkbla48

BrownPark
November 25th 2011



158 Comments


god damnit not this kid

Knott-
Emeritus
November 25th 2011



10193 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i'd ask if you mean me or frank turner but honestly i don't care

BrownPark
November 25th 2011



158 Comments


I just find Mr. Turner and his solo career a tad bit unnecessary. You're alright though kid.

Then again, I'm irrelevant so what's it matter.

Knott-
Emeritus
November 25th 2011



10193 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Did you find Million Dead, like, necessary? Haha.

Thanks kid!

Athom
Staff Reviewer
November 25th 2011



17114 Comments


Balthazar Impressario is such a shit song.

Digging: Sad Lovers and Giants - Feeding the Flame

AtavanHalen
November 25th 2011



17927 Comments


Hi, I'm Adam Knott. You know, a lot of people died in the tsunami, but don't worry, I didn't. And I'll be here to entertain you and love my life for many, many years to come. Me! ME! MEEEEEEE!

Knott-
Emeritus
November 25th 2011



10193 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hi I'm David Young anzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
November 25th 2011



6956 Comments


Never seem to be in the mood to spin Turner these days =/

Digging: Wild Beasts - Present Tense

LoveYerBrain
November 25th 2011



89 Comments


lol

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
November 25th 2011



6956 Comments


Now that you're staff Knott you'll be facing the wrath of Atavan in each review thread. Brace yourself.

NickelbackFTL
November 25th 2011



228 Comments


Listened to the cover of "Built Me Up Buttercup". Holy hell that's good.

AtavanHalen
November 25th 2011



17927 Comments


Hi I'm David Young


no you're knott

Now that you're staff Knott you'll be facing the wrath of Atavan in each review thread


lol no


AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
November 25th 2011



7232 Comments


So excited to hear this

Great review as ever

Tyrael
November 25th 2011



20394 Comments


Hi, I'm Adam Knott. You know, a lot of people died in the tsunami, but don't worry, I didn't. And I'll be here to entertain you and love my life for many, many years to come. Me! ME! MEEEEEEE!

fucking win

Digging: Lantlos - Melting Sun

vanderlyle
November 25th 2011



156 Comments


typo on The Real Damage in the last sentence

Thunder Road cover sounds intriguing

might pick this up tonight when i see him again, depends on the price

Damrod
Moderator
November 25th 2011



1093 Comments


Seeing Frank next week, I think I might pick this up then.

Good review

iFghtffyrdmns
November 25th 2011



7047 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Listening now... not overly impressed so far.
I do like the Thunder Road cover but I feel like that's only because I fucking love Thunder Road.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
November 25th 2011



23625 Comments


great review I need to check this out. that version of Build Me Up Buttercup was so awesome that I facebook'd it. yeah, I'm that guy.

Digging: Trophy Scars - Holy Vacants

Counterfeit
November 25th 2011



17819 Comments


wow, that Build Me Up Buttercup cover is so bomb. totes gonna dl now.



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