In an era where many musicians struggle to find cultural relevance, you might not think much of a 36 year-old British punk-rock singer. However, in Be More Kind–one of the best (and most surprising) records 2018 has seen released–Frank Turner delivers powerful messages about contemporary society and culture. The record’s 48 minutes are packed full of many different styles and ideas, from the catchy, sing-along melody of opener “Don’t Worry” to the punk style of “1933” that is reminiscent of Turners earlier albums. In the latter song, he expresses his concern about the shape of modern American politics, comparing the Trump presidency to 1933 Germany and warning, “Don’t go mistaking your house burning down for the dawn.”
In fact, this theme reappears again and again throughout the 13 songs, as shown most explicitly in the album’s fifth track, “Make America Great Again.” Inspired by recent shifts towards nativism (including the alt-right movement), the song suggests more kind, open-minded paths towards achieving American greatness.
“Let’s make America great again by making racists ashamed again” the song proposes.
Although it will undoubtedly garner its fair share of controversy, in the end, the album’s goal is simply to help Americans reinitiate contact with their open-minded, sympathetic side. It’s quickly becoming one of my go-to albums, and I would strongly recommend it to any music fan because of its relevant takes on modern issues and its thought-provoking lyrics. No matter how you feel about the record’s point of view, one thing is clear: This isn’t just another batch of Turner’s usual rock songs. He’s created a record for the times, one that will get you thinking about our culture and that will definitely make you a little kinder.