Review Summary: I've been crazy for so long without you
Whether you would like to admit it or not, The ’59 Sound
affected you. The fusion of poignant lyricism, soaring harmonies, and infectious melodies never ceased to be both compelling and fervent; packing that formidable punch that the majority of albums don’t seem to achieve. You were blown away by the title track’s tragic storyline, “Backseat’s” emotive climax and “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues’” easy swagger. Hell, you even felt for Brian Fallon when he labored perfectly through “Here’s Looking At You Kid”. Whatever it was, The ’59 Sound
reminded us of why we listen to music in the first place, why we decide to get out of bed when it seems as though there is nothing else to look forward to.
"Don’t sing me the songs about the good times, those days are gone and you should just let them go,” indicates Brian Fallon in American Slang’s
eighth track, almost directly correlating with the situation we are now placed in. Let’s get this out of the way right now; American Slang
is not The ’59 Sound
. The New Jersey natives had quite the act to follow, but American Slang
indicates that the band is not going to dwell in the past basking in the success of their sophomore release. American Slang
seems to retain some of the most prevalent elements from their previous releases; it screams accessibility and exuberance, while proving to be sincere. There are hooks, sing-along anthems, and even finger snaps to complement the meticulously polished instrumentation, which isn’t a far cry from its predecessor. There is just something astonishing about American Slang
, in that it just feels good
. What we essentially see with this record is not necessarily a growth, but rather an ability to take something spectacular and create an entirely separate entity.
In such a short time, lead singer Brian Fallon has become an unlikely icon in the music world, possessing the sincerity of indie legend Elliott Smith and the energy of none other than the Boss. The Gaslight Anthem’s third full-length release is no different in that the Springsteen influence is a formidable facet; the monstrous choruses and lucid storytelling are highlighted, but most of all, it’s ****ing catchy
. American Slang
is just as infectious, if not more so than its precursor, with “Diamond Street Choir,” “Stay Lucky,” and “Old Haunts” among others serving as a testament to this. You can find yourself singing along at any given point in the release, and even snapping your fingers in the opening seconds of “Diamond Street Choir” in blissful stimulation of what is one of the band’s greatest tracks to date. American Slang
does not seem to offer an ineffective song in this respect, for each is just as captivating as the last. In listening to the record however, you can help but feel like something is missing; whether it was the initial sensation that The ’59 Sound
presented, or just the overall magnitude of the band’s songwriting.
takes a slight, if very slight fall in the songwriting category, which may ultimately have been the factor that pushed its predecessor to an astronomical level. Brian Fallon had referred to this as his most personal record to date, most of which deals with his experiences with divorce. Fallon had been especially alarmed with the rate of divorce throughout the world, coining it as an issue that hordes can associate with. American Slang
is equally as relatable in this regard, with tracks such as “Bring it On” and “Orphans” centralized around this idea. The latter relies on a tremendous one-liner, “And we were orphans before we were ever the sons of regret”
, as its focal point; almost perfectly accentuating the record as a whole. For one reason or another however, the lyrics of the release don’t seem to pack the same powerful punch of its predecessor, possibly lacking that one heart-wrenching ballad that could have elevated the record to upper echelon status.
The Gaslight Anthem are out to prove that they will continue to be one of the more compelling and cohesive units in recent memory, and American Slang
only furthers this inference. The New Jersey natives’ third full-length release captivates from the enticing title track to the sincere "When We Were Young," not only contributing to an already thriving legacy, but also presenting the record as a separate entity from both The ’59 Sound
and Sink or Swim
. The Gaslight Anthem are still demonstrating the capacity to make us feel great about our struggles and tribulations, which is something that we cannot help but be astounded for.