Album Review: Sam Fender- Seventeen Going Under

Lyndsey Sleator reviews Fender's sophomore album

Lyndsey Sleator
17th October 2021
@sam_fender on Instagram

From playing the main stage at Reading and Leeds this summer to a chart-topping No.1 album and sold-out stadium shows across the country, is there anything Geordie genius Sam Fender cannot achieve? And it’s only going up.

Telling NME that this album is “leagues ahead” of his debut Hypersonic Missiles, Sam is proud of his recent venture, as he should be. Seventeen Going Under is one of those albums that, from first listen, you know will become a staple in your music library; with timeless tracks of raw emotion, fierce political statements and poignant reflections on youth, this album is one to pay attention to.

Opening with the nostalgic album-title track, Sam consolidates his inspiration, Bruce Springsteen, with breezy saxophone beats and reflective lyrics to create a song impossible not to sing along to. When I heard this song live at Leeds festival, the saxophone expertise of band member Johnny Davis truly took the song to another level. The jazz influences reinforce this album as one which defies genres. There are no limits to Sam’s sound, and it is this openness that gives this album a feeling of freedom and optimism- it is for everyone.

Seventeen Going Under is one of those albums that will become a staple in your music library

A perfect mix of joyous and melancholy, rowdy anthems, such as politically charged 'Aye', inject infectious energy into the mix, while hard-hitting piano ballads such as 'The Dying Light' show that Sam is not afraid to get brutally transparent with his music in this goosebump-worthy sequel to 'Dead Boys'. This track stands out to me as a turning point in Sam’s creative journey- he has matured as an artist and the last minute of this song is truly a sonically charged masterpiece that would work perfectly as a theme song to any upcoming TV or film.

Raw, honest and cutting, Sam exposes his inner insecurities behind tunes worthy of grooving to, and it is this musical depth that has made this one of the best albums of the year.

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