|We're from Jersey...you know, like Springsteen only|
Well, not the best in my opinion--I still hold The Hold Steady high above all (as does Mr. Springsteen himself, who handpicked Craig Finn and company to cover himself for the War Is For Heroes compilation some times ago)--but I do love this band a lot. Plus they’ve got the distinction of actually being from New Jersey, so they got Springsteen cred, and they have quoted a Spirngsteen song in one of their lyrics. The thing that I appreciate the Anthem is Brian Fallon’s vocals, which manage to both have strength and seem to crack with emotion at the same time, and the fast, bright guitar playing by the members throughout. While their Springsteen influence is front and center, I also see little glimmers of The Dropkick Murphys and The Wedding Present in the way they gleefully attack their melodies and worry them like my friend’s dog Cobie with a bone.
This is the title track from their fourth album, and while it does have the very Bruce-like theme of Blue Collar Love, there’s more going on. This song also speaks of the way music bonds up together right from the first line-- ‘Pull it on, turn it up, what’s your favorite song’--and utilizes it to tell the story of a lover looking to reunite using mutual commonalites. And if that’s not enough, they introduce the metaphor of love being handwritten to allude to the process of creativity. As our singer talks of rewriting the story of his life with his lover to have a happy ending, I can’t help but think that he’s also comparing this love to the way a song begins organically, with a musician literally putting words on paper. As with many Gaslight Anthem songs, many of which share the names of songs by artists I have to think are less obvious influences (Simon and Garfunkel, The Pixies), there are more layers going on than one would expect. And that’s why I appreciate them as much as I do.
The Gaslight Anthem recently released a box set collecting their singles and an album collecting their B-Sides, and are working on a new album as we speak.
Here’s the song: