Album Review: Sam Fender “Seventeen Going Under”

Sam Fender "Seventeen Going Under" Graphics by Ainsley Basic

By Amber Garcia, Staff Writer

Artist: Sam Fender 

Album: Seventeen Going Under 

Favorite Songs: “Long Way Off,” “Aye,” and “Get You Down”

For Fans Of: The Hunna, The Kooks, Catfish and the Bottlemen


Seventeen Going Under is the second studio album from Sam Fender. The English musician hasn’t released a new album since 2019. The new highly-anticipated collection of tracks is about his personal journey as an artist and his adolescence. 



The album speaks to Fender’s struggles in his upbringing, from heartbreak to tragedy. With the song “Pretending That You’re Dead” Fender opens up about his teenage romance coming apart. He sings, “is it really her and him? Do you think that they are doin’ it? I’m lyin’ in my empty bed, pretending that you’re dead.”

Later, in “Spit Of You,” he ruminates on the passing of his grandmother and his father’s reaction to that seismic loss. The lines go, “they say I’m the spit of you, and they’re not wrong. Bury my head too, stomach hurts all the time.” These dark lyrics are a focal point in most of the album. They give a glimpse into how Fender finds inspiration for his music writing, and how his past helped make him grow stronger in adulthood. 



The vocalist and musician has found his genre in this album, with rock ballads, upbeat punk, and soulful vocals. Playing with an 80s tune, we hear Fender sing about political polarity, in “Aye.” Fender sings about protests, political issues, and wealth gaps, paired with a punk sound. While it’s a change from Fender’s usual sound, the punk anthem is a great addition to the album. 



From “Better of Me” to “Mantra,” we hear a new Fender with a noticeably slowed-down sound. The first is a gentler song of Fender’s. For the chorus, he repeats the lyrics, “God you really got the better of me.” Here the repetition makes the song more impactful, adding to its beautiful lyricism. “Mantra” is one of the songs that we hear that has a Jazz influence. With long periods of the song only being instrumental, “Mantra” was a captivating addition to the album. 



Coming two years after his debut album, Seventeen Going Under did not disappoint. Fenders lyrics and sound are genuine. Through the varied tracks, he spoke the truth of his adolescence and his thoughts on issues. Ultimately, we hear Fender reflect on the boy he was and who he is now.

Uncommon Newsletter

Music reviews, ticket giveaways, live performances & member specials.

Sign Up

We'll never sell your email, be boring or try to sell you on bad music.

in studio performances