The Turnover Albums Ranked
Turnover is one of my new favorite bands, solidified by a live show that I went to in the midst of discovering them. The melodic, psychedelic pop punk band has progressively gotten less “punk” and even “pop,” but regardless, the Virginian trio (as of 2017) resonates with me in a way not much has in a while. Since 2013, Turnover has released four full albums, the subjects of this “ranked” or “discography explored” piece.
EDIT 11/8/22: Added MYSELF IN THE WAY.
#5 — ALTOGETHER (2019)
Favorite track: “Plant Sugar”
Maybe I should just admit here that this will be an exercise in reverse chronology. As much as I love them, each successive Turnover album has less and less of what I really love about them. That has come to the fore in the most disappointing way with ALTOGETHER, the recent release and impetus for this piece. The band’s increasingly spacey sound drifts a bit too far away on ALTOGETHER, which has elements of jazz and funk. I like those things. But fused with Turnover’s psychedelia and an overwhelmingly boring recurring saxophone, they contribute to a general malaise that settles over the record. It’s not an unpleasant listening experience, but also not an incredibly inspiring one. “Plant Sugar” has the most energy of any song on the album, with a driving beat and catchy chorus.
#4 — MYSELF IN THE WAY (2022)
Favorite track: “Myself in the Way”
Turnover’s follow up to ALTOGETHER doesn’t really bring the band back to former glory, but it is a brighter and catchier work than their previous, more muted album. Most of MYSELF IN THE WAY’s tracks pound with a dance-y beat, with twinkling sonic accents, like jangling guitar, tooting horns, and soaring strings, really driving home the influence of the 1970s and disco. The album contains these elements but blows them out into an ethereality that has defined Turnover’s sound for nearly a decade. The term dreampop may be overused, but it’s definitely fitting for the way the band captures an intoxicating otherworldliness. MYSELF IN THE WAY satisfies in these respects, especially as a full-length album experience, even if it’s shorter on absolutely standout tracks than most of the albums that came before it.
#3 — GOOD NATURE (2017)
Favorite track: “All That It Ever Was”
As we move backwards in time, I’ll continue to comment on how Turnover went from mid-2000s-inspired emo/pop punk to what has been termed as “dream pop.” That’s a great term, and after introducing their version of the sound on PERIPHERAL VISION, Turnover turned it a little looser for GOOD NATURE. It makes for a relaxing listen (rather than ALTOGETHER’s general confounding experience), but there are fewer stand out tracks on the record. “All That It Ever Was” is a sentimental yet lively tune, while “Super Natural” and “Curiosity” deserve attention as trippy ruminations.
#2 — PERIPHERAL VISION (2015)
Favorite track: “Dizzy on the Comedown”
Speaking of trippy ruminations: the best Turnover songs post-MAGNOLIA envelop you in a sort of kaleidoscopic sound, and “Dizzy on the Comedown” is the best example of that. Its musical tone matches its whimsical, sensitive lyrical content, all of which feel a far cry from the band’s debut. It’s an interesting and exciting progression that ended up, as evidenced above, a bit too far from what appealed to me so strongly. But look, as far as this dream pop (or “chillwave” is another genre that may come to mind, although I don’t really like that association) thing goes, PERIPHERAL VISION is a streamlined, investing listen from start to finish. I’ve laid in bed staring at the ceiling while listening to a number of its songs. It’s that kind of record.
#1 — MAGNOLIA (2013)
Favorite track: “Most of the Time”
MAGNOLIA, on the other hand, is a bit more of manic, angsty record. A definite offspring of the pop punk I know and love, MAGNOLIA hits the adolescent uncertainty nerve (which is still very raw for me, for some reason, at age 23) with every single track. And it does so with an incredibly assured sound for a full-length debut, an evolution of that aforementioned pop punk with a melodic, ethereal, otherworldly quality not really matched in the genre, something Turnover obviously leaned into for their subsequent releases. “Most of the Time” is a mainstay in my “favorite songs” playlist, as is “Shiver.” The two are an amazing one-two punch of an album opening (although to be clear, “Shiver” comes first and leads into the former). MAGNOLIA is a near-perfect 30 minute emo experience, and no small part of why I love Turnover as a whole.