Tell Tale Signs

Album: Tape Deck Heart (2013)

Songfacts®:

  • This is one of several songs on Tape Deck Heart inspired by the heartache Frank Turner felt after coming out of a long-term relationship. The singer actually names the woman who ripped his heart out ("goddamit, Amy") before he describes teenage self-harm with a razor. Turner told NME the track borrows a "stark, harrowing emptiness" from early Neil Young and Ryan Adams records. "It's very, very raw," he added.
  • Turner told The Guardian regarding his teenage self-harming: "Like a lot of people, I feel slightly embarrassed by it - because it's such a concession of weakness. I don't have an enormously high opinion of myself. It's a constant battle not to get too lost in self-criticism, self-loathing."
  • Producer Rich Costey (Foo Fighters, Muse) pushed Turner hard and on this song, making him do 42 vocal takes. "He was telling me to sing it directly to the person I was singing about," Turner told Kerrang! "He kept telling me to 'see the ghost.' I wanted to stab him. But he was right. You can get a performance that's correct, but what you really want is one that's correct and which has soul."

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