FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Battle Cry for the Confused and Vulnerable

by LORENZO WOLFF

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

Weekend Edition
February 12-14, 2016
Andrew Levine
What Next in the War on Clintonism?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Comedy of Terrors: When in Doubt, Bomb Syria
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh – Anthony A. Gabb
Financial Oligarchy vs. Feudal Aristocracy
Paul Street
When Plan A Meets Plan B: Talking Politics and Revolution with the Green Party’s Jill Stein
Rob Urie
The (Political) Season of Our Discontent
Pepe Escobar
It Takes a Greek to Save Europa
Gerald Sussman
Why Hillary Clinton Spells Democratic Party Defeat
Carol Norris
What Do Hillary’s Women Want? A Psychologist on the Clinton Campaign’s Women’s Club Strategy
Robert Fantina
The U.S. Election: Any Good News for Palestine?
Linda Pentz Gunter
Radioactive Handouts: the Nuclear Subsidies Buried Inside Obama’s “Clean” Energy Budget
Michael Welton
Lenin, Putin and Me
Manuel García, Jr.
Fire in the Hole: Bernie and the Cracks in the Neo-Liberal Lid
Thomas Stephens
The Flint River Lead Poisoning Catastrophe in Historical Perspective
David Rosen
When Trump Confronted a Transgender Beauty
Will Parrish
Cap and Clear-Cut
Victor Grossman
Coming Cutthroats and Parting Pirates
Ben Terrall
Raw Deals: Challenging the Sharing Economy
David Yearsley
Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Formation: Form-Fitting Uniforms of Revolution and Commerce
David Mattson
Divvying Up the Dead: Grizzly Bears in a Post-ESA World
Matthew Stevenson
Confessions of a Primary Insider
Jeff Mackler
Friedrichs v. U.S. Public Employee Unions
Franklin Lamb
Notes From Tehran: Trump, the Iranian Elections and the End of Sanctions
Pete Dolack
More Unemployment and Less Security
Christopher Brauchli
The Cruzifiction of Michael Wayne Haley
Bill Quigley
Law on the Margins: a Profile of Social Justice Lawyer Chaumtoli Huq
Uri Avnery
A Lady With a Smile
Katja Kipping
The Opposite of Transparency: What I Didn’t Read in the TIPP Reading Room
B. R. Gowani
Hellish Woman: ISIS’s Granny Endorses Hillary
Kent Paterson
The Futures of Whales and Humans in Mexico
James Heddle
Why the Current Nuclear Showdown in California Should Matter to You
Michael Howard
Hollywood’s Grotesque Animal Abuse
Steven Gorelick
Branding Tradition: a Bittersweet Tale of Capitalism at Work
Nozomi Hayase
Assange’s UN Victory and Redemption of the West
Patrick Bond
World Bank Punches South Africa’s Poor, by Ignoring the Rich
Mel Gurtov
Is US-Russia Engagement Still Possible?
Dan Bacher
Governor Jerry Brown Receives Cold, Dead Fish Award Four Years In A Row
Wolfgang Lieberknecht
Fighting and Protecting Refugees
Jennifer Matsui
Doglegs, An Unforgettable Film
Soud Sharabani
Israeli Myths: An Interview with Ramzy Baroud
Terry Simons
Bernie? Why Not?
Missy Comley Beattie
When Thoughtful People Think Illogically
Christy Rodgers
Everywhere is War: Luke Mogelson’s These Heroic, Happy Dead: Stories
Ron Jacobs
Springsteen: Rockin’ the House in Albany, NY
Barbara Nimri Aziz
“The Martian”: This Heroism is for Chinese Viewers Too
Charles R. Larson
No Brainers: When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lenin Lost His Brain
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail