Category Archives: Lyrics

Punk & Poetry.

After choosing English Literature as one of my A Levels, it seems that I spend half of my time analysing poetry in great depth. The dreaded anthology, which earned itself a Facebook group of almost 50,000 members wholeheartedly devoted to its burning, has clearly ruined poetry for many young people. But as with dance, and many other things once deemed too uncool for school, the fire in these activities has been relit by the use of the word ‘street.’

Street poetry is a world away from, in my case, the nature shrouded world of poets such as Edward Thomas, somebody with whom very few people in the modern world, never mind young people, can relate to. This poetry speaks of life as it really is. Yet these poets know their roots. Often citing Greek Mythology, Shakespeare and other poetry greats of the past, the word ‘street’ does not limit them to the literary confines of the modern world.

And one very fine example of this is Kate Tempest. In November, at the Junction in Cambridge, her band, Sound of Rum, was one of three acts on the triple bill. I was amazed when I checked her out before, but nothing compare’s to their live performance. Their music can be described as a kind of tech-rock and rap fusion. Intricate guitar and bass parts created through the use of electric guitar and loop pedal, backed by some fairly basic drums. However, don’t let this fool you, when the drummer let loose for a solo, he managed to wow the crowd with some impressive talent on show. However, the woman who really stole the show was Kate Tempest. With lyrics sharp as knives, and passion that has the ability to leave you reeling, as she stands swaying in front of you, pouring her soul out, Kate Tempest has a unique ability to bring poetry to life. Her sensitivity, the feeling that at any moment, she will break into floods of tears, as what’s she’s saying is so real, and has such meaning with her, adds a completely fresh and new dynamic to poetry for me.

It is so easy to disregard poetry, as most of it is so hard to picture – whether it be Edward Thomas, to Wilfred Owen, older poems are so much harder to visualize, but Tempest brings her world to life with incredible dexterity and skill, and she deserves to be recognised. Here is one of her poems, titled ‘Pennies.’ ENJOY.

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Lyrics of the Week

Jamie T has really grown on me over the years. Described as one of’ Britain’s best since Strummer, his songwriting has the ability to capture the experiences of many with tales of everyday shenanigans brought to life with his distinctive London tones and a unique use of sampling and his own skills on guitar and bass.

Below are the lyrics for Castro Dies, one of my favourite tracks from his most recent album, Kings and Queens:

Ya messing up my mind
You do it all the time
And that’s why enemies enemies and lovers
Will never be friends of mine.

Speak treat west
Like a stain on the chest
Of a while collar
Why do i bother
Money love hates honour
Grates if i look down i’m a goner
I’ll end up working for the bbc as a runner
Burning bills sloughed my fish wonder died of hunger
Friends stopped calling this time last summer.

I sit down sorrows and i start to sigh
I gotta get there before castro dies
Plight my guilt with highs
She smuggled with trouble in bubble wrap
Up the gap strapped between her thighs
So surprised when you meet her
She seemed so shy
Considering she got balls that are twice the size
Of you plus me plus the give me let me try
Better buy them all cos they’re in short supply
So here’s a conversation we can have when we fly
Got to get there before castro dies.

Ya messin’ up my mind
You do it all the time
I just can’t take the lies
Boy ya just going down on a low
I just can’t take the lies
Ya messin’ up my mind
And that’s why enemies enemies and loves will be friends of mine

I have a lesson learned
Enemy burned
I’m saving up my bandages
A non believer turned can be the loyalist of advocates
On aggregate i’m smashing it
I’m lacking backing but trashing it
I’m slacking and jacking the chips ya stacking
And spending them all on sandwiches
You ask me how it’s done
I just know how to handle it
See me through cynic critic scum who think your branded packages
And if you wanna come you know what i’ll be brandishing
A speaker full of lyrics beats and loops that i’ve been sampling

Ya messing up my mind
You do it all the time
And that’s why enemies enemies and lovers
Will never be friends of mine

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Lyrics of the Week.

Frank Turner’s brand new album, England Keep My Bones has been incredibly successful, but this newfound success, reaching single figures in the album charts has not led to any compromise in Frank’s astounding ability as a songwriter. One of my favourite tracks on the album is one which he has admitted to being possibly the most personal and painful of songwriting experiences. This is the touching ‘Redemption,’ which sees Frank baring his soul to the listener and showing his guilty conscience for all to see:

I was walking home to my house through the snow from the station
When the Springsteen came clear in my headphones with a pertinent question
Oh is love really real and do any of hope for redemption
Or are we are merely biting our time down to the lonely conclusions
Darling let me take your hand as I talk you through this
How loneliness edged into deep seeded psychosis
Lying away in crowded hotel rooms focused on takers
With my feelings laid clear on the ceiling
I don’t think I can do this
I don’t think I can do this

Well I tried so hard to not turn into my father
But if I only ever skip out his choices will I ever choose better
Oh the sad truth is the grass it will always seem greener
So I left you alone in a restaurant in London in winter
You deserved better

Out of trash some might back in my ears
Sound comes clear and brings the awful truth that I can’t stand what I’ve done to you
And it’s written clear in my diary today should have been our anniversary
But I’m far way and I’m far apart
And you’re back home with a broken heart
And loves is real and I can escape
I’ll only ever have myself to blame
These failures shift and save me in the night
Like a fever I can’t break try as I might
Wake me darling I need you take me home
But I know in the end redemption is mine and mine alone
So if each of us is made of a tally of mistakes and successes
Then the hour in the restaurant makes my score less than impressive
If each can be redeemed with the courage by which he confesses
So darling I miss you, your music and your musk and your kisses
I don’t think I can do this.

This is a fantastic song, with superb lyrics; something which is consistent throughout the new album. So, if you haven’t already been infected with ‘Frankophilia,’ then I highly recommend listening to the new album – England Keep My Bones, out now on Epitaph records.

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