Gaslight Anthem – “Get Hurt” Album Review

Posted: by Morgan

One of the most obviously important factors in becoming a truly great band is the ability to grow as an artist. It seems that those who evolve past their original sound, even if that sound made them popular initially, are the same bands that are the most revered. One band that has struggled with this, despite its immense talent, is the Gaslight Anthem. These Jersey rockers dropped their newest album, Get Hurt, on August 12 and continued their reign as one of the best rock n’ roll bands of our generation.

The record shows a different side of Gaslight with more personal lyricism, rather than the story telling of a narrator’s infamous love for Maria. It feels as though with Get Hurt, Brian Fallon and company have finally expanded and stopped trying to re-hash the ‘59 Sound, although there is room for improvement and greater risks; ergo its score of 8.5.

“Stay Vicious” starts the album off with a significantly heavier sound than nearly anything we have seen from Gaslight Anthem. It hits hard with truly rock n’ rolling guitar licks that growl and rumble. This gruff musicianship creates an illustrious backdrop for a rather mediocre chorus, lacking any of the memorable hooks that Gaslight fans are so accustomed to.

Next up, “1,000 Years” takes a page straight out of Handwritten with its bouncing rhythm that balances its grungier aspects nicely. Fallon’s vocals are not the most polished here—something that may not have been such a suitable option, simply because of the undeniable fact that Fallon’s pipes are some of the best in alternative music today. This only slight shift in the usual musical style of the band highlights just how hard it has been for the band to redefine itself. Not that I am saying that a strong majority of these songs are not fantastic or meritable. “Get Hurt” is a tactfully sad track that at last starts to mix the styles of Gaslight’s previous work into one clever fusion. Its lyrics are thoughtfully somber, including one of my favorite lines on the record, “Spend my nights in dislocation/talkin’ to spirits on the floor”.

However, it is with the adrenaline shot “Stray Paper” that the record finally hits its stride. Fallon’s vocals seamlessly incorporate a grainy roughness, but still retain his impressive range. This is a track that requires open windows and space to dance to, honing in on the classic Springsteen and Replacements style. Here, it is the instrumental aspects that make the song fully blossom into a lively firestorm. On the contrary, “Helter Skeleton” employs Fallon’s croons to drive it, with effortless melodies. Its subtle bass line rips into enormous choruses with more upbeat lyricism than previously seen on the record.

The album finishes with a massively energetic gang of songs. The one-two punch of the lead single “Rollin and Tumblin’” and “Red Violin” immediately invigorates listeners again with catchy hooks that spike its closing with intensity and kick.

Get Hurt is certainly the right step forward for Gaslight. Its engaging and adept musicianship will most likely make it a top ten record for me in 2014, however, because of the band’s mishandling of its opportunity to break out of its comfort zone, it has not unseated The 59 Sound as either the best, or most significant Gaslight album.

– Morgan