Wild Grey Ocean

If your name is Fender, it would be hard not to be a musician. Fortunately, Sam is a rather good pianist, guitarist, singer and songwriter. In fact, he is one of the biggest stars in the pop/rock/indie style around today. And he deserves to be.

This song came up on my Spotify Release Radar last week, and it outshone all the others in the playlist. It was recorded for his second album, Seventeen Going Under, but didn’t make the cut. Now, though, it has been released as a single and is included on a reissue of the album.

Sam Fender’s Wikipedia page lists more than 30 nominations for music industry awards over the five years from 2018 to 2022. Of those, perhaps the most significant were wins in the Brit Awards: Critics Choice in 2019 and Best British Alternative/Rock Act in 2022.

Sam’s voice carries the passion of Hozier. He has a soft Geordie accent like Sting. In general style, his compositions fall somewhere between Ed Shearan and Michael Kiwanuka. He is sometimes compared with Bruce Springsteen, which he dislikes, citing the inclusion of a saxophonist in his band. Sam’s lyrics speak of a tough childhood and a sharp political disillusionment. And he mixes all these ingredients expertly, creating indie pop/rock songs that, I’m sure, will stand the test of time.

Although he grew up in a deprived area and associated with some very likely lads in his youth, Sam Fender was never wild. He is still in his twenties, so a long way from being grey. And he’s nothing like the cheery Billy Ocean. So, I think, the inspiration for my track-of-the-week must have come from watching the winter storms off the north-east coast of England. There’s nothing as chilling as a strong wind blowing off the North Sea if you live on the coast of Tyneside, and that wild, grey ocean provides the perfect metaphor for the deep feelings of loss expressed in the song.

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