Frank Turner
Positive Songs for Negative People


3.5
great

Review

by Dan H. EMERITUS
August 11th, 2015 | 118 replies


Release Date: 08/07/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sing along, remember to be happy.

He’s been a busy man has our Frank. The trusty folk rock troubadour who began life fronting hardcore band Million Dead turned full circle by adding Mongol Horde to his increasingly long list of successes. Between them, his solo work, and opening the London Olympics back in 2012 with quintessentially British shouts of “Come Ye” on ‘I Still Believe,’ he’s barely stopped to catch his breath since 2003. While this would be enough to cause burnout in many, the reality for Frank Turner is quite the opposite. He seems to thrive on his hectic schedule, and even cursory glances at his live performances tell you all you need to know about his love for music. Tape Deck Heart may have been a break up album, but it didn’t stop that familiar glint in his eye from reappearing when he performed it live. So often betrayed by a genuine smile, Turner proved that the joy he experiences while performing will always trump the content, and that nothing can keep him down for long. Positive Songs for Negative People is the antithesis of its predecessor: the outlook is optimistic without ever being corny, and throughout we’re reminded that determination and doggedness are infinitely more rewarding than wallowing.

Turner and his backing band The Sleeping Souls prove they’re as strong as ever with typically capable songwriting, but the real star of Positive Songs for Negative People is the lyrics. They may not be deep but their intentions are pure, and above all else they’re incredibly refreshing. Life is championed and we’re encouraged to appreciate the small things, to be present in the moment, and to never linger on the past for longer than is healthy. Frank admissions are made throughout, such as “I’m trying to get better cos I haven’t been my best” on upbeat rocker ‘Get Better,’ and “But I don’t want to spend the whole of my life indoors, laying low, waiting for the next storm” on the piano driven ‘The Next Storm.’ There are plenty of examples which highlight the theme which runs throughout, and since his last album it feels as though Frank has scrutinised the defensive, withdrawn mindset which affected him, and decided that it wasn’t for him at all. Upon reflection, he’s keen to remind us that it simply isn’t worth dwelling on these detrimental thoughts. While this certainly isn’t anything groundbreaking, it’s not often we’re reminded to try and enjoy the moment without distraction, and it’s certainly nice to be reminded every once in a while.

Big choruses, as always, feature prominently on Positive Songs for Negative People, and while they aren’t the focal point, they still fulfil their role brilliantly. “Mittens” is a bluesy mid tempo number which features a more sombre chorus than those surrounding it. Tinged with remorse but also with the acceptance that sometimes things simply aren’t meant to be, it proves to be a surprisingly effectual message long after the record has finished. None prove to be more infectious than the stellar ‘Glorious You,’ however. The content encapsulates the rosy outlook adopted by Turner throughout, and the timbre he adopts as he charges into the chorus hits the spot perfectly, making it the finest on the album, and perhaps one of the finest in his discography. Elsewhere, the prominent combination of enthusiastic piano and electric guitar make for more memorable moments, such as the frenetic, aptly titled ‘Out of Breath,’ and the buoyant ‘The Next Storm.’

Positive Songs for Negative People lives up to its name and is an enjoyably straight forward record. Unfortunately, the album’s biggest strength also holds it back from ranking among his finest, as the overarching optimism makes the record feel slightly thin and superficial compared to his previous offerings. Despite this, if enjoyed at face value, you’re unlikely to find many more gratifying albums in 2015. On Positive Songs for Negative People, Frank Turner proves once again that he’s present in the moment and enjoying the fruits of his labour in the here and now: he wants you to do the same.



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user ratings (196)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
Comatorium. (4)
An unbridled burst of positive energy and optimism, Frank Turner forgoes subtlety for fun on his 6th...


Comments:Add a Comment 
VheissuCrisis
Emeritus
August 11th 2015


1367 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I've not been very well, so anything dodgy let me know. This album has been good medicine however.

Gyromania
August 11th 2015


22923 Comments


first sentence

VheissuCrisis
Emeritus
August 11th 2015


1367 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

That's just a British phrase.

Arcade
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2015


8437 Comments


yeah first sentence read normally to me.

great review, unsure if i'll check this though. only heard a handful of his songs and they range from pretty cool to pretty lame pretty evenly.

Digging: King Krule - The OOZ

Gyromania
August 11th 2015


22923 Comments


i also recognize it as a british-ism. my nana used to use something similar, but it still doesn't sound normal to me. seems like 'he's been a busy man, our frank' would make a lot more sense. anyway, review is good, dan

BigHans
August 11th 2015


28432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love the vibe on this. Great album.

larrytheslug
August 11th 2015


1587 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't remember him opening the 2012 Olympic ceremony. gotta look that up!

VheissuCrisis
Emeritus
August 11th 2015


1367 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks buds.



I was buzzing when I watched the ceremony Larry, I remember all my family wondering who the hell he was.

Comatorium.
August 11th 2015


4791 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I didn't know that Frank was gonna be part of the opening ceremonies, and I just happened to be watching them when he came on. I flipped my shit. Good for him. Dude deserves all the attention and radio play he garners these days.

larrytheslug
August 11th 2015


1587 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

that's so weird I remember the grass landscape and arctic monkeys and mr bean and everything but not frank :'/

FreddieDelaney31
August 11th 2015


3287 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I don't quite know how to voice my feelings about this album. It's not like a HUGE disappointment, I just think it's kinda harmless and I guess I feel indifferent about it, which is something I thought I'd never feel towards a Frank Turner album.

Digging: King Krule - The OOZ

Tunaboy45
August 11th 2015


15521 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'll probably check this out because the last one was excellent.

Tunaboy45
August 11th 2015


15521 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"He’s been a busy man has our Frank"



You just confused every person on this site that isn't british mate, good on ya.

Gyromania
August 11th 2015


22923 Comments


it still baffles me why they even say that. the 'has' is totally unnecessary

Tunaboy45
August 11th 2015


15521 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That's just what we say I suppose haha



His appearance at the olympics made me so proud (then again, so did the whole thing)

VheissuCrisis
Emeritus
August 11th 2015


1367 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Haha. I knew it would cause confusion but Frank is so wonderfully British it just felt right.

BonRurgundy
August 11th 2015


358 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

meh. singalong driving songs for Jack Wills wearing teenagers from the home counties.

RadicalEd
August 11th 2015


8538 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Liked a lot of his other stuff, but this is a bit to sappy for my liking.

Digging: Blood Cultures - Happy Birthday

chaywa
August 11th 2015


44 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

What is it with our Frank and the last song on his albums - Song for Josh, Broken Piano, Glory Hallelujah and Journey of the Magi are easily the best songs on each of the last four albums. That man knows how to close out a record!





Tunaboy45
August 11th 2015


15521 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

For anyone who hasn't already, check A Song To Ruin by Million Dead, it's such a fantastic album.



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