I got a note in late September alerting me to a band from New Jersey called The Gaslight Anthem. In the note was mention of Springsteen and the Clash. So naturally, I went to eMusic and downloaded ‘The ’59 Sound’ right away. I have to be honest, I struggled with it for a while. The music was passionate and filled with great riffs and catchy hooks. But lyrics-wise, I thought they were trying a little too hard to pay obvious homage to Mr. Springsteen. Case in point: “Meet Me By the River’s Edge”…
See I’ve been here for 28 years.
Pounding sweat beneath these wheels.
We tattooed lines beneath our skin.
No surrender, my Bobby Jean.
We’ve been burned by all our fears.
Just from growing up around here.
Our father’s factories marked our cars.
While Eden burned against the stars.
And with song characters like “Sally”, “Janie” and “Mary” throughout the album, well, though I could appreciate the idea that they were hugely influenced by the Boss, it initially grated on me a bit.
But over the last few weeks, I’ve been softening, and opening up more to them. Drawing me in especially with the very affecting song “Here’s Lookin’ At You Kid”.
The Gaslight Anthem – Here’s Lookin’ At You Kid (mp3)
And then, they showed up on Letterman last night. And they played “The ’59 Sound”. And they played it with such passion and intensity… The bass player striking Paul Simonon poses. The drummer pounding hard with some amazing fills. And lead singer / guitarist Brian Fallon as the ultimate front man.
Last night on Letterman, I “got it”. What a performance (and Dave was obviously impressed too)… I am fully converted now. Locked in.
Buy The ’59 Sound.