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Positive Songs for Negative People (Deluxe)

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Album Review

In the decade after the breakup of his retro punk outfit Million Dead, singer/songwriter Frank Turner has transformed himself from the solo folk-punk singer who played dank London basements to headlining Wembley, writing a bestselling autobiography, and becoming the subject of ideological political intrigue in The Guardian. Like 2013's Tape Deck Heart, Positive Songs for Negative People looks back and in, but only as a way of integrating a bruised and broken self. Backing band the Sleeping Souls and producer Butch Walker are the twin engines that fuel his transformation. "The Angel of Islington" is a solo acoustic number. From the banks of the River Thames, he desires to "wash my feet and cleanse my sins…" He's pondering the relationship that was so devastating on Tape Deck Heart, but resolves to move beyond it no matter the cost. "Get Better" is a melodic, anthemic basher(complete with Springsteen-esque pianos), where Turner testifies that "I got me a future/I'm not stuck in the past/I've got no new tricks...But me, I'm a machine and I'm built to last." By the time he reaches the end, he's no longer merely talking about himself but exhorting all of us to "get better." Further on, buoyed by boisterous electric guitars and a bruising snare, Turner sings about stepping out from his desolation to face "The Next Storm." Over and over again, his songs address the topic of emergence and belief as the album moves into — naive though it may be — the power of rock & roll to engage the collective "us" as a way of redeeming the world, one individual at a time. In "Glorious," via blended acoustic and electric guitars, slipshod snare and a rumbling bassline, he gets under the listener's skin: "Come on now, if we all pulled together/We could lift the weight of the world from your shoulders…." His declaration is answered by an enormous backing chorus, which gives it the conviction of a gospel song. The clattering punk burn of "Out of Breath," with its triple-time snare, careening piano, and wiry guitars is the album's most unhinged track; it's Turner's closest musical relation to his work with Million Dead. "Demons," another soaring rocker, addresses disappointments, compromises, and hard-won blessings: "At this truth we have arrived/God damn it's great to be alive." Out of character — at least on the surface, is "Silent Key," a poignant story of astronaut Christa McAuliffe's final radio transmission from the doomed Space Shuttle Challenger, but fits the album's overall themes. Positive Songs for Negative People is a transitory record. Musically, it doesn't contain anything new — that's for an album further down the road — but it doesn't need to. Here, solid songs filled with common-sense poetry bristle with renewed energy and purpose. It's an invigorating, infectious set that reaffirms Turner's faith in music's power to motivate and heal. [The Deluxe Edition contains ten acoustic versions of album tracks.]

Customer Reviews

Frank Turner is king great!

At last- a blast of fresh air in this stagnant world - Frank`s got a new album out! Get the bunting out, the party starts now! May 2015 nearly broke us, but Franks putting fire back in our belly and giving us a reason to go on. You sir, are a gentleman and I am glad to be alive to hear your songs. Frank Turner - the only man worth seeing live and the only artist producing anything worth listening in music today.

Massive Fan, But...

I'm a HUGE fan of Frank and can't wait to see him at Reading 2015 this year!!

But I can't help but feel his new stuff since 'Tape Deck Heart' has become a bit over produced, in a sense that there is just too much going on. There are a lot going on in this new album, (don't get me wrong, I'm all for the use of more instruments) but when I listen to the acoustic versions, they are just so much better!!

In my opinion - Frank needs to be stripped back, pick the guitar back up and sing his heart out again. I don't like him jumping around without a guitar, that's not the Frank I have followed and frankly idolised.

The album itself is a good one. Probably on par with TDH but like I say, in my opinion, it feels like he has too many friends that he doesn't want to let down by not being in the band :/

I dunno if Frank will see this, it says there is only 37 reviews so I'm in with a shout but - Frank, cut back on the production and get back to the days of 'Sleep Is For The Weak', it was your best work, along with 'England Keep my Bones' and 'Love, Ire and Song'
3 absolutely outstanding albums where EVERY SINGLE SONG was amazing and well written.

I'm enjoying the album but they are my complaints!
See you at Reading!!

Promising

Can't wait for this, the new single is sounding insane

Biography

Born: 1981 in Bahrain

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '00s, '10s

A former member of punk rock band Million Dead, Frank Turner turned his attention to folkier, acoustic "musics" after the demise of the aforementioned hardcore outfit. Born in Bahrain in 1981, Turner was educated at Eton College in England. His first foray into the world of punk and rock in the band Kneejerk came to an end in 2000, and he soon found himself joining up with Million Dead. Over the course of that band's four-year lifespan, Million Dead released two critically lauded albums, but the...
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Positive Songs for Negative People (Deluxe), Frank Turner
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