Our single of the week is ‘Seventeen’ by Bristol’s beloved Penfriend. An enormous pop-rock anthem with a heart-throttlingly poignant story. Penfriend aka singer/songwriter/producer/genius example of how to do independent musicianship right, Laura Kidd, explains:
Seventeen. Is there a more complicated age? Not quite yet an adult, but impatient to be treated like one; navigating an avalanche of new experiences and urgent emotions, dismissed by the grownups as “teenage angst” or “just a phase”. An exhausting quest to negotiate a new space for ourselves, juggling the interests of parents, teachers and friends while not knowing to question their motives.
This song is an excavation, a letting go, an act of self-forgiveness.
Traumatic events from the past can feel just as fresh, years later, the ghosts of our former selves creeping up to tap us on the shoulder with icy fingers.
Sometimes we need to package up our memories with tidy words to dispel the haunting.
Sometimes we just need to stop blaming ourselves.
Sometimes writing songs is like painstakingly sculpting sounds from thin air; other times they arrive in a whoosh, fighting to be heard. “Seventeen” appeared on a summer Saturday evening, falling out of me in jagged swathes.
Facing up to our ghosts isn’t a pleasant experience, but this song helped me over a major stumbling block from my past, bringing me a fresh perspective and new freedom.
Spend some time getting to know Penfriend on https://penfriend.rocks/ – her mailing list is highly recommended, as is her podcast, Attention Engineer
Bonus Musical Mini Episode – Seventeen – Attention Engineer
- Bonus Musical Mini Episode – Seventeen
- Bonus Musical Mini Episode – Black Car
- Ep39: Stephen Jones (Babybird) on surviving chart success and finding true connection with music fans
- Ep38: David Brewis (Field Music) on leaning into the editing process – inspiration is overrated
- Ep37: Ryan Miller (Guster) on constantly throwing seeds…even if a lot of them will never sprout