Fender's 2019 debut Hypersonic Missiles was a triumph for modern guitar music - and that triumphant twangy Springsteen inspired guitar paired with Fender's angelic vocals continue gracefully on Seventeen Going Under. When it comes to his guitar playing, Fender is undoubtedly one of the finest guitarists of the modern age. Tracks such as the titular opener, recent single "Get You Down" and the album highlight "Spit of You" have riffs that bleed emotion - simply powerful guitar playing.
In "Seventeen Going Under," the title track of Sam Fender's second album, the 27-year-old British songwriter meditates on anger, fistfights, an ailing family member, and the rising debt accrued from a pitiless Department of Work and Pensions. Paired with a jangly electric guitar part and an unrelenting backbeat, his words conjure both angst and beauty, holding your attention from start to finish. It is his best song yet.
I've said it a thousand times before to anyone who will listen, but there's something distinct and special about listening to Sam Fender when you're from the North East. From my childhood home down the road from his, I remember the first time I heard 'Leave Fast'. Darting back and forth between home and my adopted Uni city, the song perfectly captured a feeling I wasn't sure any of my peers could truly relate to, a feeling that home would hold you hostage and you needed to decide whether to run or get Stockholm Syndrome.