“Get Hurt” with The Gaslight Anthem!

Lead singer Brian Fallon has always sung about his heart, whether it be broken, empty, or beating at all.  He has always ably juxtaposed his own plight with the words of the songs he grew up on from his heroes Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, and other great storyteller musicians.  In doing so, he demanded to be placed along side them, but with Get Hurt, the comparison finally becomes earned.

Where in the past The Gaslight Anthem stayed in their established wheelhouse of a four-chord Americana punk with classic rock influences is where on Get Hurt they branch out almost immediately.  They play with their song structures and dynamics in interesting ways; no more strict verse-chorus-verse.  In songs like the opener “Stay Vicious,” they storm out of the gate with a pummeling nu-grunge riff before taking it down to a forlorn whisper for the chorus.  “Stray Paper” has no definable chorus, just two verses passionately wailed by Fallon before the outro starts small and ratchets up to an explosive finale with the line “Oh but love became blood on stray paper” being repeated over and over.  “1000 Years” and “Helter Skeleton” both turn up the intensity, sounding pretty standard Gaslight before making some very cool decisions in tone and delivery – the former having a beautiful sing-along chorus and the latter having a quiet, somber and genuinely haunting plea as a hook.

When the band gets soft is when things get truly interesting.  There is only one out-and-out acoustic ballad on the album, where the rest fulfill a great range even while staying in the softer dynamic. The title track “Get Hurt” is amazing.  Quiet, pensive verses give way to a powerful chorus where Fallon surrenders himself to the hurt that he admits he came for.  Standout track “Underneath the Ground” continues this sofer dynamic with a slow, chill bluesy groove built around a gospel style chorus.  Fallon has never sounded better than he does in this song, and on this record in general.

The great aside, Get Hurt does have its flaws, and they mostly come after the lead single “Rollin’ and Tumblin’.” It’s the most breakneck song on the album, and the rest of it never really matches up, getting lost in a mid-tempo rut that makes the songs hard to delineate from each other. “Selected Poems” is a stand out from this section, both lyrically and dynamically, but until the ending comes in, the album gets sort of boring.  It rebounds well, as “Break Your Heart” is among the best acoustic songs Fallon has written, and closer “Dark Places” is an incredible, epic summation of where the band’s collective head is at now.

It’s not as huge of a departure from their sound as they would have you believe, but it is definitely a departure, and thus a breath of fresh air.  This album should please old fans while garnering new ones.  They maintain their anthemic quality while branching out into different concoctions of soft blues, gospel, and other sub-genres.  Brian Fallon has always written from the heart, but this time he writes from his scars.  That confessional quality goes a long way, coupled with the interesting dynamic choices to give the listener something very fitting for the melancholy time when summer is just turning to autumn.  It is the time when people leave, when the nights get longer, and it’s a perfect time to Get Hurt.

The Gaslight Anthem is playing at the Skyline Stage/Mann Center on Friday, September 12th with special guests Jimmy Eat World and Against Me!  Tickets can be purchased here.

Check out their video for “Get Hurt” below!

 

Have your own thoughts on this album?  Love Gaslight Anthem?  Tell us in the comments!

1 Comment

  1. Andrew

    December 16, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    I have to disagree with your analysis of Get Hurt (song) That he was looking for the pain, Rather that if it is going to happen mind as well do it 100% in the case of a fight you might as well leave me. THat is what I read though.

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