NO MAN’S LAND – FRANK TURNER

With this eighth album, No Man’s Land, Frank Turner made the choice to teach and not to talk about himself. Review.

What’s the subject? In thirteen titles, Turner tells the tales of thirteen unusual/amazing women: twelve historical figure and his own mother. How did these women mark history I hear you ask?

Oh, they did it in various ways… From Mata Hari, with the gentle Eye of the Day, to the first aid practice mannequin Resusci Annie, with the full of regrets Rescue Annie, we meet the most famous Sister Rosetta Tharpe, godmother of rock’n’roll, on the upbeat title Sister Rosetta (strangely similar to Stacey’s Mom), but also Catherine Blake, on the poetic I Believed you, William Blake; Jinny Bingham in Camden, on the flamboyant Jinny Bingham’s Ghost; and the astronaut Christa McAuliffe from the mission Challenger on the touching Silent Key

So many lives and destinies that deserve to be told more… After all, the same stories from the male counterpart are told, right? If we can ask ourselves if Frank Turner is the best person to talk about them, we find our answer quite quickly: who cares? The important thing here is that an artist, him here, adapted into music these stories that a large number of people do not know, and that his songs are staying with us afterwards

If hearing a song about a serial killer like Nannie Doss (A Perfect Wife) is quite a scary experience, we don’t see why she shouldn’t have her story, as dark as it is, when men, who committed monstrosities, have theirs. If hearing about Egyptian feminist and nationalist figure Huda Sha’arawi (The Lioness) can be strang, others did mention in their songs politics lead by men that are, by far, more dangerous.

So, after all, why shouldn’t Frank Turner have a try with all these stories to transform them into musical poetry? Because he’s a man? And if a man tells the story of a woman he finds fascinating, is he really patronising and mansplaining things? I prefer to think of this as a way of sharing a passion, discoveries and an admiration for these stories. If the album’s title can be seen as inappropriate, the music is all about sharing.

To get further, the British troubadour also proposes a dozen podcasts about these historical women… and his mom (Rosemary Jane). After all, she must be his greatest influence.

Now Playing: Sister Rosetta


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