A Battle Cry for the Confused and Vulnerable


About twice a year someone says that there’s a new band that’s gonna save Rock and Roll. Some trendsetter decides that leather jackets and guitars are cool again, and critics old and young praise them for “saving” Rock, like it’s some feeble old man on his deathbed. Well the Gaslight Anthem has given us proof that Rock and Roll doesn’t need any saving, it’s alive and well and it’s living in central Jersey.

The Gaslight Anthem emerged out of the New Brunswick, New Jersey hardcore scene in 2005 with their first album Sink or Swim, an unpolished highly energetic LP that laid the groundwork for their future material. In between the dates of their daunting tour schedule they wrote and recorded their second album, an EP called Senor and the Queen, which was considerably stronger and more focused than their first attempt. The ’59 Sound continues to build on the formula of their previous efforts, finally showing what the Gaslight Anthem is really capable of.

This album is not a technical masterpiece. Pat Metheny fans should probably stop reading this review right about now. No single musician stands out as a virtuoso, and very similar chord patterns are used in almost every song. What’s great about this album is that it sounds like a real band recorded it. Brain Fallon’s voice is comfortable and confident while still sounding urgent, and his band supports him without stepping on his toes. In every track you can hear endless hours of basement practices and months upon months of touring.

The ’59 Sound is full of images. Each song paints a picture of the social and physical landscape from which it emerged. Diners and Ferris wheels populate a landscape of beaches and highways. The characters aren’t glamorous, but they’re immediately recognizable. Who doesn’t know someone like Sandy and Johnny in “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues”, a couple who grew up and lost their exuberance?

Or Anna in “Here’s Looking At you, Kid,” the girl who moved out of a small town and lost herself in the city? The characters and places in this album are what make it genuine, like it came to life by itself and this album is merely a record of it.

The masterpiece of this album is the last song “The Backseat”, a gut-wrenching tribute to the pain of adolescence. In every line you can hear the frustration of someone who doesn’t know where he’s going, how he’s getting there, or why he’s even trying. It’s a battle cry for the confused and vulnerable. Anyone who has ever been a teenager knows what Fallon means when he sings,

“In the back seat we just tried to some room for our knees
In the backseat we just tried to find some room to breathe”.

So thanks a lot, but Rock and Roll doesn’t need any help. You can keep your sunglasses and you can keep your prop guitars. You can keep your savior, as long as we’ve got the Gaslight Anthem.

LORENZO WOLFF is a musician living in New York. He can be reached at: lorenzowolff@gmail.com





LORENZO WOLFF is a musician living in New York. He can be reached at: lorenzowolff@gmail.com

December 01, 2015
John Wight
From Iraq to Syria: Repeating a Debacle
Conn Hallinan
Portugal: the Left Takes Charge
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Revenge? The Fight for the Border
Sami Al-Arian
My Ordeal: One of America’s Many Political Trials Since 9/11
Steffen Böhm
Why the Paris Climate Talks Will Fail, Just Like All the Others
Gilbert Mercier
Will Turkey Be Kicked Out of NATO?
Bilal El-Amine
The Hard Truth About Daesh and How to Fight It
Pete Dolack
Solidarity Instead of Hierarchy as “Common Sense”
Dan Glazebrook
Rhodes Must Fall: Decolonizing Education
Colin Todhunter
Big Oil, TTIP and the Scramble for Europe
Eric Draitser
Terror in Mali: An Attack on China and Russia?
Linn Washington Jr.
Torture and Other Abuses Make Turkey as American as Apple Pie
Randy Shaw
Krugman is Wrong on Gentrification
Raouf Halaby
Time to Speak Out Against Censorship
Jesse Jackson
It’s Time for Answers in Laquan McDonald Case
Patrick Walker
Wake Up Zombie, Kick Up a Big Stink!
November 30, 2015
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Embrace of Totalitarianism is America’s Dirty Little Secret
Omur Sahin Keyif
An Assassination in Turkey: the Killing of Tahir Elci
Uri Avnery
There is No Such Thing as International Terrorism
Robert Fisk
70,000 Kalashnikovs: Cameron’s “Moderate” Rebels
Jamie Davidson
Distortion, Revisionism & the Liberal Media
Patrick Cockburn
Nasty Surprises: the Problem With Bombing ISIS
Robert Hunziker
The Looming Transnational Battlefield
Ahmed Gaya
Breaking the Climate Mold: Fighting for the Planet and Justice
Matt Peppe
Alan Gross’s Improbable Tales on 60 Minutes
Norman Pollack
Israel and ISIS: Needed, a Thorough Accounting
Colin Todhunter
India – Procession of the Dead: Shopping Malls and Shit
Roger Annis
Canada’s New Climate-Denying National Government
Binoy Kampmark
Straining the Republic: France’s State of Emergency
Bill Blunden
Glenn Greenwald Stands by the Official Narrative
Jack Rasmus
Japan’s 5th Recession in 7 Years
Karen Lee Wald
Inside the Colombia Peace Deal
Geoff Dutton
War in Our Time
Charles R. Larson
Twofers for Carly Fiorina
John Dear
An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind
Weekend Edition
November 27-29, 2015
Andrew Levine
The Real Trouble With Bernie
Gary Leupp
Ben Carson, Joseph in Egypt, and the Attack on Rational Thought
John Whitbeck
Who’s Afraid of ISIS?
Michael Brenner
Europe’s Crisis: Terror, Refugees and Impotence
Pepe Escobar
Will Chess, Not Battleship, Be the Game of the Future in Eurasia?
Ramzy Baroud
Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake
Vijay Prashad
Showdown on the Syrian Border
Dave Lindorff
Gen. John Campbell, Commander in Afghanistan and Serial Liar
Colin Todhunter
Class, War and David Cameron
Jean Bricmont
The Ideology of Humanitarian Imperialism