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Sam Fender – Seventeen Going Under (2021) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Sam Fender – Seventeen Going Under (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 45:17 minutes | 971 MB | Genre: Pop
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Polydor Records

The loss of youth and young manhood and the trials of adolescence have provided ample inspiration for musicians since forever. The latter, in particular, has been well encapsulated by US rockers Sharon Van Etten (‘Seventeen’, 2019) and Olivia Rodrigo (‘Brutal’, 2021) in recent years, but the former is one that Sam Fender has mastered like few others. It’s a topic that requires a delicate approach; the transition from boy to man is assumed to be dominated by bravado, and often overshadows causes that need a closer look.

When Sam Fender made his full-length debut in 2019, it was in impressive fashion with Hypersonic Missiles, a set of compassionate, politically charged anthems that split the difference between atmospheric rock and singer/songwriter traditions (he opened for Bob Dylan and Neil Young at Hyde Park that year). Less than two years later, his follow-up, Seventeen Going Under, finds him looking back on his childhood in North Shields, outside of Newcastle, England. While the subject matter here is more personal, it sticks to a palette of lush, guitar-based band arrangements and doesn’t shed any sociopolitical awareness. Most notably, rant-sung rocker “Aye” catalogs violent and abusive historical events, acknowledging complicit witnesses. The song’s frustrations culminate in a derisive, repeated, “I don’t have time for the very few/They never had time for me and you,” in reference to the 1%. Later, the far more measured, melodic “Mantra” revisits similar sentiments with lines like “Please stop trying to find comfort in these sociopaths/Their beauty is exclusively on the surface.” Among the more common autobiographical material is “Spit of You,” which instead examines his relationship with his father. Its calmer tone and agile, picked guitar line back lyrics steeped in regret. Fender still makes room for soaring anthems like the skittering “Paradigms,” the driving “Get You Down,” and the title track, a saxophone-bolstered chant-along that recalls suppressing anger as a teen. He closes Seventeen Going Under with “The Dying Light,” a ballad that looks for help getting through the nights, when distractions are more elusive. A piano ballad to begin, it ends a sentimental set with what seems like a fitting rush of crashing cymbals, throbbing bass, clanking piano, horns, and an emphatic resolved chord. – Marcy Donelson

1. Sam Fender – Seventeen Going Under
2. Sam Fender – Getting Started
3. Sam Fender – Aye
4. Sam Fender – Get You Down
5. Sam Fender – Long Way Off
6. Sam Fender – Spit Of You
7. Sam Fender – Last To Make It Home
8. Sam Fender – The Leveller
9. Sam Fender – Mantra
10. Sam Fender – Paradigms
11. Sam Fender – The Dying Light


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