With his second album ‘Seventeen Going Under’ dropping on 8 October, the Tyneside musician has offered fans a final teaser before release day with the deeply personal and emotional track titled ‘Spit of You’.
After a whirlwind couple of years, indie rock singer Sam Fender crash-landed into the unforeseen circumstances of a global pandemic in which he was forced to find new inspiration for material; a far cry from his go-to source of tales from pub regulars in North Shields.
As a result, he found himself reflecting on his adolescence.
This has been an ever-present theme in previous 2021 singles ‘Seventeen Going Under’ – which highlights the financial struggles he and his mother suffered – and ‘Get You Down’, an introspective look at his self-esteem issues and how they have affected his relationships.
‘Spit Of You’ very much follows this thematic pattern.
Fender wrote on his Instagram: “It’s based around my own relationship with my old man, and how we both struggle as blokes to communicate the way we feel to each other without it becoming a stand-off.”
The level of relatability that is ever-present in the track is one of the singer’s greatest assets.
Fender has an extraordinary ability to expose such vulnerability and personally specific subject matter, yet still finding a way to resonate with thousands upon thousands of listeners.
Stylistically speaking, you can hear his love and appreciation for the American indie rock and alternative scene, more specifically The War on Drugs and Big Thief, who are on record as artists he admires and listens to often.
The guitar riff glides through the track and provides a perfect backdrop to express a highly emotional relationship that struggled but also found a sense of unity through saddening circumstances.
Even in the outro, there still feels like a deliberate restraint on the saxophone solo and the electric guitar doesn’t fly out of the blocks either, therefore creating a subtle and delicately crafted “declaration of love for [his father].”
In the aforementioned Instagram post, Fender also went on to write: “The second half of the song talks about seeing him with my grandma when she passed away, and how I saw him as a son, and how that moment reminded me to make the most of my time with him.”
Verse two highlights this and contains some of the most piercing and raw lyrics you’re going to hear this year, with an honest realisation: ‘Cause one day that’ll be your forehead I’m Kissing / And I’ll still look exactly like you’.
The impact that death can have on someone you love is such a sobering and life-altering event, and the Tyneside musician expresses this almost perfectly.
It is the blend of internal pain and the crippling fear of feeling that grief again that Fender expresses so eloquently.
Sam Fender: ‘Leftie is now a slur in working-class towns’ https://t.co/LWOmPJeUgl
— The Guardian (@guardian) August 25, 2021
Ending the verse with ‘I’ll still look exactly like you’ not only emphasises the father-son dynamic, but also evokes such striking imagery in terms of seeing a reflection of yourself in someone else’s final moments, whilst feeling so much overwhelming pain and love.
There seems to be no hiding from the similarities between him and his father, and it isn’t something he attempts to shy away from because, evidently, he sees it so clearly.
‘Spit of You’ is an immensely compelling and painfully beautiful song that many more will continue to discover and relate to.
It also continues to establish Sam Fender as one of the most talented acts to emerge from the UK in recent years and will only help to propel his name further and further into stardom.
By Joe James
Feature Image Credit: Sam Fender YouTube