Saturday, August 08, 2015

Ranking the Albums: Frank Turner

In honor of the release of his sixth full-length album Positive Songs for Negative People, I've decided to give the Ranking the Albums treatment for one of my favorite artists – Frank Turner.

I first discovered Frank Turner sometime in late 2010 / early 2011 and have become a diehard fan ever since. Since that time I collected pretty much his entire discography (as much of it on CD as I could find and everything else digitally) and have loved everything I have heard. Turner has a unique voice that brings a sense of honesty, passion, and earnestness that transcends genres and generations combined with a unquestioning belief in the power of rock 'n' roll and the ability to bring those elements together in some of the best anthems ever recorded.

Trying to decide on a favorite Frank Turner record is like picking your favorite child—it's nearly impossible and an incredibly unfair question because his entire discography is excellent. Turner started his solo career playing shows with nothing but an acoustic guitar. His debut EP Campfire Punkrock is a folk punk masterpiece driven by Turner's voice and guitar accented by a sparse backing band. Things began to expand with Turner's sophomore full-length Love Ire & Song, a record that brought in the first beginnings of a fuller band sound setting the stage for the records that would follow. His fourth record, England Keep My Bones has the best opening sequence of songs ever. “Eulogy” into “Peggy Sang the Blues” into “I Still Believe” is a monumental achievement and every time I put that record on, those three songs pull on my heart, energize my spirit, and lift up my soul. The follow-up, Tape Deck Heart chronicled a tough break up for Turner and personal upheaval in a way that was painful and positive all at the same time. That record also includes what I like to think of as my theme song in “We Shall Not Overcome.” Admittedly it is his full-length debut Sleep Is for the Week that I know the least and feel the smallest connection to but even with that in mind, it is still an album that I thoroughly enjoy and admire. The entirety of Turner's discography (including his new record and his ridiculously fun collaboration with Jon Snodgrass Buddies) is powerful, poignant, heartfelt, defiant, and sincere in a way that few artists in the history of rock 'n' roll have even been able to pull off. In other words, he is something very special.

This list includes Turner's five previous studio albums listed in order of preference.

For more information on Frank Tuner check out his official website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, MySpace, Last.fm, AllMusic, and Wikipedia pages.

1. England Keep My Bones
2. Tape Deck Heart
3. Love Ire & Song
4. Poetry of the Deed
5. Sleep Is for the Week

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