Frank Turner comes from the hardcore scene which has never really resonated with me, but Turner has transcended his hardcore roots and has offered up something that is really very hard to put into a category. Positive Songs for Negative People, his sixth full-length, is really very different from anything making the rounds these days. It really has a bit of everything. His voice carries a wide spectrum that will be The Offspring one moment and then Oasis the next. He doesn’t actually copy their styles but there is no song on this album that isn’t reminiscent of another artist. I mean this in the best way of course. There is almost something comforting about it. Its always refreshing to hear an artist that is playing with different types of sounds instead of finding what will sell some albums, rinse and repeat.
This album literally has everything. It’s a little punk and a little classic rock but no matter what song it is on this album that you turn, to it’s going to have a bit of edge. But be careful of a few tearjerkers. For example, on “Silent Key” Turner tells a fabricated and tragic yet somehow beautiful story of Christa McAliffe the teacher who died in the Challenger explosion. A tribute Josh Burdette who committed suicide follows on “Song For Josh” that may cause you to reminisce on friends lost. There are some possible hits on Positive Songs for Negative People, like “Get Better” which gets in your face without wasting any time and assures you that shitty days are behind you and that everything will be alright.
Some tracks on the album suggest that Turner may be overreaching a bit. At times, Turner utilizes stylistic changes almost too often to attract a wider audience and while it may come across as a bit distracting, it isn’t something that takes away from the power of the music. This is a fun album but it won’t revolutionize music and you probably aren’t going to throw it on during a date, but it’s not bad in the car.
Frank Turner is worth looking into if you haven’t heard of him before. His career seems to be somewhat overlooked in a way and I don’t see why. Positive Songs for Negative People is exactly what this album is. It has a bit of sarcasm and humor but at the same time it can be beautifully sad. Turner sings of philosophy and life in a way that’s strangely honest, full of poetic imagery on song after song, ultimately making this album a notable success.