The Gaslight Anthem
Get Hurt


3.5
great

Review

by Green Baron USER (159 Reviews)
August 6th, 2014 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "...And maybe you were not the same."

Upon first listen, Get Hurt barely feels like a Gaslight Anthem record. Sure, Brian Fallon’s unique, Springsteenesque vocals are still as distinct as ever, and there’s no mistaking the fact that it’s definitely him standing behind the microphone, pouring emotion into every word that comes out of his mouth. However, at other points in the album, including the post-grunge tinged opener “Stay Vicious” and the stripped-down ”Underneath the Ground”, I’m stuck scratching my head, pondering the ramifications of such a release. All I can do is sit and wonder, “Is this really the same Gaslight Anthem that I’ve known and loved for the last few years?”

The answer to my question is, undoubtedly, a stern ‘no’. In an interview with Rolling Stone earlier last month, frontman Fallon stated that they were switching gears with Get Hurt. “We wanted to see where else we could go with the band. We thought it was time to change things up a bit,” he declared, and he couldn’t have been anymore accurate. The Gaslight Anthem’s fifth studio album sees the New Jersey-based quartet mature sonically, experimenting with different musical styles outside of the Springsteen-cum-Americana punk that they’re recognizable for. It takes multiple listens to truly realize the extent of their direction. The aforementioned “Stay Vicious” has Fallon singing in a rather gruff tone, using his lower register to produce a much more deeper voice than the one he’s known for over a heavy, brooding riff that establishes the track is one of the band’s most guitar-driven songs. Even though it starts off sounding like a generic post-grunge tune (then again, the album was influenced by Pearl Jam’s No Code), it morphs into something slightly more indie-like. On the other end of the spectrum, “Break Your Heart” puts the electric away and is built primarily on acoustic strumming. Fallon’s forlorn vocals leave a mark emotionally as he tells his tale of melancholy and sadness through weaving guitar and heartbroken singing.

With that said, not all of it works well. Even though “Stay Vicious” isn’t horrible, it’s a lackluster opener that is missing a certain ‘kick’ to it. They’ve always had something energetic and memorable to kick off albums – “45” and “Great Expectations” are proof enough, so a slow crooner starting things off is a little different. “Underneath the Ground” lacks a spark, and meaninglessly drags on for four minutes as Fallon tries to juggle between his best Matt Berninger impression and blandly singing over some vaguely indie-ish instrumentation. For what it’s worth, the title track does it better, slowly building over a primarily drum-driven beat as he emotionally cries, “I came to get hurt / Might as well do your worst to me”. It picks up the most following the powerful bridge, and all the feelings felt are just a by-product of such a moving song that no one would have predicted being by the same band that made “The Patient Ferris Wheel” seven years ago.

Of course, The Gaslight Anthem haven’t completely abandoned their original sound. Tracks like “1,000 Years” and “Helter Skeleton” are still filled with the raucous punk spirit that they’re known for, and could fit in on any album prior to this. The former is just pretty damn anthemic, featuring Fallon’s inevitable thunderous roarings of “yeah, yeah, yeah”, while the latter is just a fun three-minute romp that screams classic Gaslight Anthem. Its quiet-loud dynamic with boisterous verses and a more subdued chorus works wonders, and it’s just such an energetic track with tons of personality and life. Some attempts at bringing back their classic sound don’t necessarily go too well; “Stray Paper” seems like a Handwritten B-side , while the verses to “Red Violins” are absolutely snooze-inducing, not to mention the first minute of “Selected Poems” pales in comparison to the rest of it, including a neat little guitar solo.

It takes multiple listens to truly appreciate the direction The Gaslight Anthem took on Get Hurt. Sure, not of all it works out, and there are a couple of duds, but for the most part the transition works somewhat well. Even if the punk and riff-driven side of them aren’t on full display, there’s still plenty of moments with rocking guitar and charismatic vocals that wouldn’t sound out of place on Handwritten. Lyrically, the album focus more on reflection – lines like “Come visit me on the 99th floor of apathy”, “I’ve grown to learn that everything has chains” and “Once upon a time, I lived a perfect life” are relatively deeper than those of the past. While the album’s highlights such as “Helter Skeleton”, “Break Your Heart”, “Dark Places”, “1,000 Years” and “Get Hurt” are spread across various styles that The Gaslight Anthem incorporate into their sound, it’s a testament to Get Hurt’s versatility and musical exploration. While it may come off as their worst release, I prefer looking at it as their ‘least best’. Sure, some will say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and point to this album as an example. Maybe some things they stay, and some things go away, but for what it’s worth, The Gaslight Anthem still haven’t slipped.



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user ratings (319)
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
Jom STAFF (3.3)
"All in all, I find that nothing stays the same."...

Jordan M. STAFF (2)
...

brandaao (3.5)
This is no '59 Sound, but there's a lot of value in this new direction taken by the band....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Green Baron
August 6th 2014


24805 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

so yeah I did it

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 6th 2014


32876 Comments


The Gaslight Anthem are still haven’t slipped.

Other than that, great review. You've really come along as a writer and should be proud of this write-up.

Digging: Coldplay - Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends

dh198
August 6th 2014


463 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review.

Green Baron
August 6th 2014


24805 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

whoops, I'll go fix that. Thanks for catching it.

Feather
August 6th 2014


5540 Comments


solid review. just started listening to gaslight anthem the other week. 59 sound was awesome. Will listen to this once there is a spotify stream.

Mookid
August 6th 2014


1485 Comments


Great review

Yeah I dearly loved Handwritten so I'll probably give this a go

OwMySnauze
August 6th 2014


2029 Comments


Horrible artwork. How lazy can you be?

ShitsofRain
August 7th 2014


8169 Comments


sometimes less is more

dh198
August 7th 2014


463 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Probably not in this case though.

Green Baron
August 7th 2014


24805 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i'm trying to find symbolism in it but I can't

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
August 7th 2014


26233 Comments


Sure, Brian Fallon’s unique, Springsteenesque vocals are still as distinct as ever


Well, this doesn't make much sense. The rest of the review is good though

Digging: Liturgy - H.A.Q.Q.

WhiteNoise
August 7th 2014


3667 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Everyone seems to have a different opinion on the best tracks which to me is a sign of a strong album. I've also been busting for them to try something new so I can't wait to pick this up.

ConsumerOfNut
August 7th 2014


325 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like this a lot. Haven't had the chance to listen through too many times so it may wear off, but I like it better than Handwritten thus far, at least. Okay with all the "new".

TheSupernatural
August 7th 2014


2055 Comments


Shit already 2 reviews for this. You guys write fast.

Green Baron
August 7th 2014


24805 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I listened to this so much that I decided to tackle it.

TheSupernatural
August 8th 2014


2055 Comments


I listened to the last thing I reviewed only twice, but it was assigned to me by the random album review game. Maybe I should review something else

Green Baron
August 8th 2014


24805 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I heard this 9 times.

cryptside
August 12th 2014


2397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Very nice review, man. You have really progressed as a writer, and developed a knack for keeping your reviews interesting throughout. Much better than most contributors by a wide margin, although to no discredit to them at all. I look forward to seeing how much further you are able to go with this. Pos'd hard man.



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