Frank Turner spent the entirety of his last album, 2011’s England Keep My Bones, exploring the intricacies of English society … not exactly the kind of stuff that translates particularly well to American audiences. So for the follow-up, he decided to tackle a subject that went beyond borders: pure, unfiltered heartbreak. Friends and loved ones be damned.
“I have this theory that a lot of bands and writers, when they get to a certain level of success and/or a certain number of albums — and this is my fifth album — they sort of retreat a bit and get a bit generic and bland,” Turner smiled. “And that strikes me as a bad idea, so I decided to try and do the opposite of that, and write the most visceral, raw, personal record that I could … And the measure of success of that is that I’m kind of terrified about what certain people are going to think about this record.”
Said record is called Tape Deck Heart — due April 23 in the U.S. — a title that only hints at the sorrow and struggle contained within (“I was in Berlin doing press, and I did 12 interviews in a row, and I got 12 different versions of what the album title was secretly going to say,” Turner laughed. “So, as far as I can tell, it’s a good title!”) It’s a brave departure for the usually DIY artist, who recorded it not in his native England but Burbank, California, with legendary producer Rich Costey. Simply put, the songs are bigger, and the lyrics bolder … and for proof of that, look no further than the aptly-named first single, “Recovery.”
“It’s an autobiographical song … [but] it’s not a song about getting better, but it’s about the act of realizing you have a problem, and you need to sort your life out,” Turner said. “It came to me in one of those moments of clarity in the middle of a long, solid drunk where you go ’What am I doing? Who are these people?’ ”
The song turns on a line (“On the night we met/ You said ’Well, darling, let’s make a deal/ If anybody ever asks us/ Let’s just say that we met in jail’ “) that Turner directly lifted from a real-world relationship, and as he continues to work the promo circuit in support of Heart, he’s slowly beginning to realize that his honesty may get him in trouble … but, hey, it’s worked for Taylor and Adele.
“I’m kind of terrified. I’m down for at least one serious stabbing, possibly two,” he said. “I shouldn’t go into this, but funnily enough, one of the people who was a big inspiration for the record, I saw yesterday, and she was very gracious about the whole thing. She knows, she’s heard the record, and I guess she was flattered, which is nice.”
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