After his debut record Hypersonic Missiles in 2019, Sam Fender is back with his new sophomore album. A self-deprecating lockdown experience for Fender gave us Seventeen Going Under. Sticking to his nostalgic hometown sound, the longing to fight for what you believe in is still in the music. Fender explains how a kid can endure trauma and it will bleed into their adulthood.
The first track on the first album, “Hypersonic Missiles” opens the world to kids who see everything going on around them, but cannot do anything about it. This very message does not stop with the latest album as Seventeen Going Under is the indie-pop story of a kid stuck in a repetitive small town, a theme a lot of Fender’s listeners can undoubtedly relate to.
Here are the best four songs on the latest album:
4. “Pretending That You’re Dead”
Lucky number thirteen “Pretending That You’re Dead” is a song most people can resonate with, selfishly obsessing over a person you want, when there are so many more important things in the world to be worried about. That being said, this love song is probably the most lighthearted on the album. It deals with taking a small break from an extremely serious issue to be selfish enough to only be concerned about the person you care about being with someone who isn't you. This song is easily a bop. No doubt in its ability to make you belt and dance in the car. “Pretending That You’re Dead” is guitar heavy and encompasses a 80s inspired cheesy romantic movie feel.
3. “Spit of You”
This emotional ballad is sixth on the record. Unlike most of the songs on the album, this one is slow. The meaning is just as powerful as the others, if not the most vulnerable Sam Fender gets. He dives into the struggle of being able to communicate with a parent. Even if you are close in proximity, there is always an emotional distance. Fender explains the resemblance linking a child and parent, both mannerisms and features. The vulnerability Fender has with this one will give listeners goosebumps. It’s truly a song that leaves one gutted.
Track three, “Aye,” is an immersive ditty. Fender calls out the comfort people with power find in being just a bystander. The song references many tragic images such as watching Jesus get nailed to the cross and watching the horror of kids being assaulted by Jeffrey Epstein.
The rhythmic claps that begin the song immediately make you tap your fingers and bob your head. The instruments are great, but Fender’s voice is the most powerful factor in the song. You can feel his distress and disappointment through the lyrics.
1. “Seventeen Going Under”
The album's prologue explains the repetitiveness of adolescence. As history repeats itself, a lot of individuals are either too afraid to stand up for themselves or to fight back. When people grow up, the regret that comes with giving someone the satisfaction of knowing they caused hurt turns into a rage.
The message is strong, and the tunes are undeniably upbeat. Fender’s ability to catch your ear with a sound that makes you want to get up and groove, and then listen to the lyrics and think, has not disappeared.