Sam Fender is one of the most acclaimed and successful British singer-songwriters of his generation. His debut album, Hypersonic Missiles, topped the UK charts in 2019. Sam Fender songs earned him a Brit Award for Best New Artist.
Sam Fender’s second album, Seventeen Going Under, followed suit in 2021 and was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize. His songs are known for their anthemic melodies, heartfelt lyrics, and social commentary on topics such as mental health, toxic masculinity, and politics.
In this article, we will rank the 10 best Sam Fender songs in 2023. It will be based on their popularity, critical reception, and personal impact. We will also explore the influences, themes, and stories behind each song. Whether you are a fan of Sam Fender or a newcomer to his music, we hope you will enjoy this list and discover some new favourites along the way.
10. Spit of You
The closing track of Seventeen Going Under is a blistering rock song. It confronts Sam Fender’s estranged father, who left him and his mother when he was eight years old. Fender sings with raw emotion and anger, accusing his father of being a coward and a liar, and rejecting any resemblance or connection to him.
The song features a powerful guitar solo and a cathartic chorus that echoes Fender’s desire to break free from his past. He sings, “I don’t want to be a spit of you / I don’t want to be anything like you”.
Spit of You is a brave and honest song that showcases Sam Fender’s ability to channel his personal pain into compelling music. It also reflects his influence from Bruce Springsteen, who also wrote songs about his troubled relationship with his father. For example, Adam Raised a Cain and Independence Day. This is one of our favourite Sam Fender songs.
9. Hypersonic Missiles
The title track and lead single of Sam Fender’s debut album is a soaring anthem. It mixes optimism and pessimism in the face of global turmoil. Fender sings from the perspective of a working-class man who is in love with a woman. He feels powerless to change the world around him.
Fender observes the news of wars, corruption, and inequality with cynicism and resignation. He also expresses hope that love will prevail in the end. Fender sings, “I’m not smart enough to change a thing / I have no answers, only questions / Don’t you ask me anything / But I believe in this / There’s nothing else I can do / But I believe in this / Me and you”.
Hypersonic Missiles is a catchy and uplifting song that captures Sam Fender’s knack for writing catchy hooks and memorable lyrics. It also reflects his influence from Tom Petty, who also wrote songs about ordinary people facing extraordinary challenges. For example, Refugee and I Won’t Back Down.
8. Will We Talk?
The sixth single from Hypersonic Missiles is a fast-paced and energetic song that depicts a one-night stand with a twist. Sam Fender sings from the perspective of a man who meets a woman at a bar and spends the night with her. He wonders if they will ever see each other again or have a meaningful conversation.
He expresses his frustration and confusion with the modern dating scene, where people are more interested in hooking up than getting to know each other: “Will we talk in the morning? / Or will you leave without warning? / And disappear just like the rest”.
Will We Talk? is a fun and catchy song that showcases Fender’s ability to write songs that are both danceable and relatable. It also reflects his influence from The Strokes, who also wrote songs about casual relationships and nightlife culture. For example, Last Nite and Someday. This is one of our favourite Sam Fender songs.
7. Get You Down
The second single from Seventeen Going Under is a groovy and upbeat song. It deals with self-doubt and insecurity in a relationship. Sam Fender sings from the perspective of a man who feels unworthy of his partner’s love.
He fears that he will lose her because of his flaws. He admits that he struggles with depression and anxiety, but also expresses his gratitude and affection for her. Fender sings,”You’re the only thing that keeps me sane / You’re the only thing that makes me stay / You’re the only thing that gets me through / And I don’t know what I’d do without you”.
Get You Down is a catchy and heartfelt song that showcases Sam Fender’s ability to write songs that are both honest and uplifting. It also reflects his influence from Sampha, who also wrote songs about mental health and love. For example, (No One Knows Me) Like the Piano and Too Much.
6. Play God
The first single that Sam Fender released independently in 2017 is a dark and powerful song. It criticises the state of the world and the people who control it. Fender sings from the perspective of a dystopian narrator who observes the injustice and violence that plague society.
It questions the motives and morality of those who have the power to change it. He challenges the authority and legitimacy of those who claim to play God, and warns them of the consequences of their actions: “You can play God / You can play God / But you’ll never be God / And you’ll never be forgiven”.
Play God is a bold and provocative song that showcases Sam Fender’s ability to write songs that are both political and personal. It also reflects his influence from Jimi Hendrix, who also wrote songs about war and oppression. For example, Machine Gun and If 6 Was 9.
5. The Borders
The seventh single from Hypersonic Missiles is a sprawling and epic song. It tells the story of Sam Fender’s childhood friendship with his neighbour, who later became a drug addict. Fender sings with nostalgia and sadness, recalling the memories they shared and the dreams they had.
Also acknowledging the reality and tragedy of their different paths. He expresses his love and concern for his friend, but also his frustration and helplessness: “I don’t know what you’re running from / I don’t know where you’re going to / But I wish you well / I hope you find yourself / Before you find another victim”.
The Borders is a moving and cinematic song that showcases Sam Fender’s ability to write songs that are both narrative and emotional. It also reflects his influence from Jeff Buckley, who also wrote songs about friendship and loss. For example, Grace and Last Goodbye. This is one of our favourite Sam Fender songs.
4. Dead Boys
The third single from Hypersonic Missiles is a haunting and urgent song. It addresses the issue of male suicide, which Sam Fender experienced first-hand when he lost two friends to it.
Fender sings with passion and anger, denouncing the stigma and silence that surround mental health among men, and urging them to seek help and support: “Nobody ever could explain / All the dead boys in our hometown / Nobody ever could explain / Why they don’t just speak out”.
Dead Boys is a brave and important song that showcases Sam Fender’s ability to write songs that are both social and personal. It also reflects his influence from Loyle Carner, who also wrote songs about mental health and suicide. For example, Sun of Jean and Florence.
3. That Sound
The fourth single from Hypersonic Missiles is a catchy and energetic song. It celebrates Sam Fender’s love for music and its power to heal and inspire.
Fender sings with joy and enthusiasm, describing how music makes him feel alive and free, despite the challenges and pressures he faces in life: “That sound / That sound / That sound / It makes me feel like I’m not alone”.
That Sound is a fun and uplifting song that showcases Sam Fender’s ability to write songs that are both simple and effective. It also reflects his influence from Pinegrove, who also wrote songs about music and its impact. For example, Old Friends and New Friends.
2. Leave Fast
The fifth single from Hypersonic Missiles is a stunning and emotional song. It expresses Sam Fender’s desire to escape from his hometown and pursue his dreams.
Fender sings with longing and determination, painting a bleak picture of his surroundings, but also acknowledging the beauty and love that he leaves behind: “Leave fast or stay forever / Leave fast or stay forever / There’s nothing here for me / But I can’t leave”.
Leave Fast is a masterpiece of songwriting that showcases Sam Fender’s ability to write songs that are both personal and universal. It also reflects his influence from Alex Turner, who also wrote songs about leaving his hometown and chasing his ambitions. For example, Mardy Bum and A Certain Romance.
1. Seventeen Going Under
The lead single and title track of Sam Fender’s second album is a stirring and poignant song. It reflects on Fender’s teenage years in North Shields. Sam Fender sings with honesty and vulnerability, revealing his struggles with depression, family issues, and identity crisis.
He also celebrates the moments of joy and hope that he experienced with his friends, his music, and his first love. He sings, “We were just kids / We were just kids / We were just kids / And we didn’t know what we did”.
Seventeen Going Under is a beautiful and nostalgic song that showcases Sam Fender’s ability to write songs that are both autobiographical and universal. It also reflects his influence from Joni Mitchell, who also wrote songs about her youth and growing up. For example, The Circle Game and River. This is one of our favourite Sam Fender songs.
The Bottom Line
Sam Fender is one of the most talented and versatile singer-songwriters of his generation. He has proven his ability to write songs that are catchy, meaningful, and impactful. His songs cover a wide range of topics, from personal experiences to social issues, and from love to politics.
His songs also showcase his influences from various genres and artists, such as rock, folk, indie, and more. Fender has earned his place among the best British musicians of his era. We can’t wait to hear more from him in the future.
These are our picks for the 10 best Sam Fender songs in 2023. Do you agree with our list? What are your favourite Sam Fender songs? Let us know in the comments below. And don’t forget to check out his latest album, Seventeen Going Under, which is available on all streaming platforms.