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Album Review: Frank Turner – Positive Songs For Negative People

Frank Turner returns with a motivating sound in his sixth studio album Positive Songs For Negative People.

 

Text Review:

Frank Turner has gained worldwide recognition and appreciation for his folk rock that incorporates quick acoustic guitar riffs and incredibly written lyrics.  Over the past few years his name has been a consistent go-to artist for many alternative fans looking for introspective lyrics and the perfect song to match any specific mood in one’s life.

There are musicians in the world who thrive for making the next big fight song or the next popular catch phrase chorus.  Then there are people like Frank Turner who are destined to never stop writing stories about broken hearts and bad luck.  So after so many years of songs and touring the world while being synonymous with alternative and folk, in comes a new album title that may offer something different.  Positive Songs For Negative People.  If this album title is an indicator of the direction for this new album, then it could be a great uncharted territory and something unique.

When the album was announced, Frank Turner said that “I’m very excited to finally be allowed to bring you all more news of my forthcoming new album. Positive Songs For Negative People is a record about defiance, about picking yourself up when you’re down, and the title reflects that.”  Regardless of whether you prefer the original writing style and sound that made Turner famous or are looking for a newer direction, you have to admit that there is an interesting idea here along with the appeal of music to help motivate you.  Again, with Turner making music to match a mood in your life.

As far as Frank Turner’s quote about writing music for people who pick themselves up when they are down, The Next Storm might as well be the title track.  The message is clear with lyrics like “But I don’t want spend the whole of my life inside/I wanna step out, and face the sunshine”.  Musically I feel like the song takes a while to pick up but finally finds a good rhythm after the first chorus.

As far as singles and album highlights go, this song is ok.  The problem with a track like this however is that once you hear it and if you’ve heard ANY of Turner’s past works, you know that the man is capable of more than a song like The Next Storm.  It is not bad in any way, but it feels like something is missing and there is a constant reminder that it could be better.

While there are songs on this album that feel like they need something more or are missing that extra punch or hook, there are the tracks with an amazing flow and lines that only someone like Frank Turner is capable of thinking up.

Mittens in EVERY WAY is a better track to feature off of Positive Songs For Negative People and not only carries the theme of the album but represents Frank Turner’s style and delivery much better than the first single.  The passion in his vocals when singing the chorus and the imagery of reading thousands of postcards all just adds up to this great build with the piano and percussion.

There are several songs on this album that leave a lasting effect the second you are done listening like Mittens and Get Better.  On the opposite side however are tracks that fail to hit the mark.  The issue isn’t that they lack quality or feel rushed, but that there is an underlying feeling that you can’t escape the knowledge that Frank Turner has done better than this in the past.  The saving grace are the tracks hit the target and leave a permanent mark.

Frank Turner has earned his recognition and success through the traditional way of touring the world and continuously writing.  Creating an album with a different theme also adds levity to his resume of talents.  But if time has proven anything, it’s that Frank Turner does have moments where his genius doesn’t shine in every song.

Overall, Positive Songs For Negative People is an album that is definitely worthy of belonging in Frank Turner’s discography and once again continues his record of great writing, but with every great track is one that doesn’t land.  While die-hard fans may be satisfied, new listeners may want to dig back into his album list before jumping into this one.

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