Album Review: Frank Turner – Positive Songs for Negative People

Positive Songs for Negative People comes across as a suitable follow up to the downtrodden heartbreak melodies of Tape Deck Heart, writes

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“If we all pulled together we could lift up the weight of the world from your shoulders” is the hook in fifth song ‘Glorious You’ in Frank Turner’s sixth album Positive Songs for Negative People. This is the theme that runs throughout the well anticipated follow up to the 2013 album Tape Deck Heart that features a mix of uplifting and feel good tracks, as well as the story telling tunes that Turner is well known for.

The first single that was released called ‘Get Better’ appeared on YouTube with little to no build up but instantly caused a stir within Turner’s fans. After the lulling tones of Tape Deck Heart, this felt more like the ‘classic’ Frank of the album Love Ire and Song, but with new melodies and a fresh vigour to life. ‘Get Better’ turned out to be the perfect introduction to an album about facing life head-on and not letting struggles get you down.

Having heard the first few singles, I was very excited for the release of this album as it seemed to have more of a punk vibe to it and a certain flow that was lacking from his previous albums. Although Turner says himself that he will never write a “story album”, in my opinion this is the closest to it, as the album starts off with ‘we can get better’ going through to ‘we will get better’ and finally ending with ‘this is what happens when we don’t get better’.

The personal highlight of the album for me is the final track entitled ‘Song for Josh’. The last hooray to Josh Burdette, the manager of 9:30 club in Washington DC who committed suicide in 2013. It is a heartbreaking ode to a well-loved club manager and friend of many. It also feels like a fitting end to the album as the song was recorded live in the club itself. The track is backed only by an acoustic guitar, creating a juxtaposition with the rest of the album, where the other songs are all full band performances with messages of positivity, this shows a vulnerability not often delivered by Turner.

Positive Songs for Negative People comes across as a suitable follow up to the somewhat downtrodden heartbroken melodies of Tape Deck Heart. It feels more relatable after the arguably self-indulgent previous album and almost feels like a new start for Turner. The entire album is full of powerful messages and even more powerful vocals. I look forward to having it on repeat for the next few weeks, just to be reminded that everyone can be a ‘Glorious You’.