The Long Awaited Second Album Is Finally Here
If you thought ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ was good, then this will blow your mind
Sam Fender has today released his second debut album, titled ‘Seventeen Going Under’ and anticipation has been building for this album for a number of months now, ever since he released the title track as the first single. The eagerness of fans and critics alike has led to this being one of the most highly anticipated releases in white a while, and Sam and his incredible band have definitely not disappointed.
The album is kicked off with the title track, and it’s the perfect way to start the album. It is a song fans are clearly familiar with, having way over 4 million plays on Spotify already, so it starts the album off in comfortable territory. Before the album was released, fans had heard that it was going to be a much more honest, reflective album than his incredible debut, and the first track was the perfect taste of this before the album was released. This song alone proves that Sam Fender is one of the finest songwriters around at the moment.
The album moves on to ‘Getting Started’, which starts off a bit lighter than the heavy guitar tones of ‘Seventeen Going Under’ but is just as powerful, being driven by the punchy drum track whilst the breezy guitars float above and give things a bit of an 80s indie vibe. Again, the lyrics are real, telling tales of taking paths he now regrets taking. Sam has always used his music to reflect upon himself, but this album takes that to a whole other level, and the brutal honesty within is quite moving.
Track three is another single taken from the album, in the form of ‘Aye’. I would call it a tongue in cheek rage at the mega rich and governments, but there’s not too much tongue-in-cheek about it. Everything is there, out in the open and it’s a direct hit on just some of the problems within the world. Lyrics such as; “They watched Boudica fall to the Romans, They watched Lennon as they shot him dead, They watched Jackie pick up Kennedy’s head, They watched kids go to Epstein’s bed, They watched Hollywood whitewash remake movies, Of napalm falling like water on rock” are a true portrayal of Sam’s views of those who are supposed to be in power and in charge. Later in the track, he pretty much chants “I don’t have time for the very few, They never had time for me and you”, a reference to the idea of the mega rich being the ‘one percent’.
‘Get You Down’ follows on from ‘Aye’, another track released as a single in the months leading up to the album’s release. This time, it’s the most honest self reflection on the whole album, maybe even one of the most honest self reflections I have heard in mainstream music for a very long time. The track focuses on the struggles of self appreciation, and loving yourself. It’s a track that has similar themes to some of those within ‘Hypersonic Missiles’, and along with ‘Dead Boys’, for me it is Sam Fender at his absolute best.
‘Long Way Off’ is as close to a political protest song as you could get really. For me, this is the current equivalent to Dylan’s ‘Times They Are A Changing’. Whether the cultural impact is anywhere close, I can’t see it myself, but that is down to society more than it is a fault of Sam’s flawless ability to write powerful lyrics and accompany them with the perfect backing to really hammer the point home which he is trying to make. Sam himself says this about the track:
“This is about political polarity and how the working classes feel, or how I felt, abandoned by a lot of the left wing. There’s a sect of snooty liberalism in the media world that completely alienates working-class people. Blyth Valley [a constituency a few miles from North Shields] went Tory [in the 2019 general election]; it’s been a Labour seat since its inception. That’s not good, but we’re in a dangerous, dangerous place, politically. It was the arrogance and incompetence of politicians thinking that they could sail through [Brexit]. They’ve fucked the country completely. There should be trials—for the lies, for the deception of a nation. My family members who voted for it voted for it because they thought that they were going to get money for the NHS. They’d seen their mothers pass away in the arms of people who worked for the NHS. They’d seen their family members on wards suffering. And they thought, ‘I’m going to vote for that.”
‘Spit Of You’ is the last track on the album that was released before the album, and is a touching reflection on the relationship he has with his father, and how it changes depending on the circumstances around him. It’s about how similar he is to his father, and how they’ve been raised in a way that means they always seem to argue without meaning to, and therefore can’t talk about their feelings like they feel like they should. Sam described the situation as ‘Toxic masculinity at its finest’. It’s the first time in the album we get treated to one of the incredible Saxophone solo’s which have ended up becoming synonymous with Sam and the band of incredible musicians which he has backing him.
Social media is in the firing line for ‘Last To Make It Home’ a track which will be relatable to anyone who has felt like they can only be noticed if they ‘like’ a picture on social media. It’s about the need of constant acceptance from those who you wish you could be noticed by, wether that be a girl you are trying to speak to (which is the case with this track) or whether it’s just someone you are not as close to as you would like to be. It’s one of the slower tracks on the album, and it’s the longest track on there as a result, but every bit of it is exceptional. In direct contrast to this, ‘The Leveller’ is an upbeat, energetic track straight from the off.
The album continues with a mix of in your face anthems, slower yet equally poignant offerings, and a bit of everything in between. Topics of key conversion continue to be focused on throughout the album, whether it be difficult relationships with other people, or with your own demons, as well as political messages that wouldn’t have been out of place in the late 60s and early 70s. Maybe this album is the time where people start fighting for what is right, and standing up against suppression, inequality and fighting for diversity and inclusion.
You can grab a copy of the album off his website, or most local record stores. There’s many variations available too!