I first discovered Madison Turner on one of my many fruitful searches for amazing women making music in the South. And, as someone who spent her 1990s in Tampa, I love pop punk, so it was a magical connection. There was something very familiar in Tampa-bred Turner’s brand of the genre. But there was also much more to her music.
On her brand new album, A Comprehensive Guide to Burning Out, she has crafted stunning tales of crashing, dusting off, flying straight up into the ether, and, well, burning out. But it’s ultimately the hard-earned confidence to survive it all that fosters the ferocity, community, love, and generosity that ends the album with songs like “No”, “Richmond, Virginia”, and “. . . But I Was Wrong”. What a payoff and what a tremendous achievement musically. The harmonies, the horns, the blazing guitar, and, my god, the fiddle.
It’s unfair to simply throw this album in the pop punk bin, it takes a lot of cues from artists that informed the intricate edges of that genre (I hear a few of the bands I love, like The Pogues and the Mountain Goats), and it trades in the spitting snark of the traditional pop punk troubadours of the 90s for wit and passion – see “Our Wild Rage”. Turner is thoughtful and, frankly, really fucking fun to listen to. And, she’s created a soundtrack that any burned-out feminist activist can crash, dust off, and get back up to.