Monday, August 10, 2015

Album Review: 'Positive Songs for Negative People' by Frank Turner

Title: Positive Songs for Negative People (Official, Amazon, iTunes)

Frank Turner's sixth album Positive Songs for Negative People is a tour de force of passion, heart, and soul that exemplifies everything that is right and good in rock 'n' roll. Opening with the sparse folk of “The Angel Islington” before launching into the full frontal rock 'n' roll anthem assault of “Get Better,” Positive Songs... is a journey of rebuilding and rebirth. Much of the record deals with themes of pickings oneself up after some type of defeat, dusting oneself off, and grabbing life by the throat, refusing to let go. Ever the misfit, Turner conjures up images of underdogs that trip and fall in everything from love to life yet refuse to give up, getting up and trying again. There are love songs (“Mittens” and “Love Forty Down”), inspirational songs (“Get Better” and “The Next Storm”), punk songs (“Out of Breath”), and rousing anthems (“Demons” and “Glorious You”). The albums closes out with two songs surrounded by death. First is “Silent Key” which recounts the final moments of Christa McAuliffe's life who died in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. The second, “Song for Josh,” is a painfully beautiful eulogy for Turner's friend Josh Burdette who managed at Washington, DC's 9:30 Club until his untimely passing. The song was recorded live at the 9:30 Club and is filled with emotions that are so raw that they are palpable.

In a lot of ways, Positive Songs... is for Turner's career what Leave A Light On is for 7 Seconds: a record that captures the heart and essence of everything that has come before while bringing a renewed energy and fresh take on the past while charging towards the future. This is not a cheap rehash of the past but instead an emphatic embrace of everything that Turner excels at, taking bits and pieces of what has come before and mixing them with a heart, passion, and drive that oozes from the speakers and uplifts the soul. For fans (at least the ones that really get it), Positive Songs... is a masterpiece that borders on being a religious experience. This music is earnest and honest and passionate and the kind of thing that can lift up a broken heart, give hope to a downtrodden spirit, and heal bruised and battered soul.  

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