The Gaslight Anthem - Get Hurt - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Gaslight Anthem - Get Hurt

by Jim Harris Rating:3 Release Date:2014-08-25

I’ve always been suspect of this band. The Gaslight Anthem and their pallid attempts to cover Springsteen have never impressed me. But when I heard they were doing something completely different it tweaked my interest (Come to find out, in a Monty Python kind of way). I am glad, though, that they never embraced Springsteen’s penchant for mike-sharing — nasty.

The music here lives up to the title Get Hurt. This album hurts. It is an over-produced mish-mash of third-rate songs from a derivative band who have been riding on the coat-tails of a Springsteen connection down a musical dirt-road to nowhere.

On Get Hurt, they don’t even sound like Springsteen anymore. The opening track, ‘Stay Vicious’, is the only track with any potential whatsoever, as it has a certain Queens of the Stone Age kick to it, but then the rest is a dead carnival ride of half-baked love songs and comic book stories filled with more Americana-Lite gimmicks than anything Bon Jovi or Goo Goo Dolls could ever dream up. But at least those two bands did this sort of “I’m from Jersey in a leather jacket and need a sensitive chick right now” shtick successfully for a while. Get Hurt does not have it.

The second song, ‘1,000 Years’, begins with an utterly silly 80s power-rock intro that made my teeth hurt. Nothing gets better as the album trudges along to the title track (And is that an inverted heart on the cover or the chest of an aging Springsteen fan?)

 Regardless, there is only one thing worse than these half-baked musical attempts to derive some semblance of an Americana rock n roll voice — the lyrics. A chorus of "Tears in my eyeballs" (Your eyeballs can’t have tears in them, dude), and since I keep track of such things, the crappiest alt-rock lyric of 2014 so far: "There’s a soft spot in my cardiac arrest" (Does ASCAP have a banned lyric category?) I could go on. And yes, that is one thing Fallon shares with Springsteen - a penchant for bad lyrics. Doesn’t the Boss’s last solo album have the line "I’m like firewood, baby, I burn"?

In all seriousness, this reminds me of what the Sony label did to Jakob Dylan on his last solo record. They brought in Mr Overexposed Producer, T Bone Burnett, and had Neko Case and her sidekick Kelly do background vocals on most of the tracks, and the songs were tepid and boring anyway. 

The Gaslight Anthem brought in the Arctic Monkeys producer and put in sickening layers of synths and drums and announced that they were really doing something different this time. They mixed and remixed half-baked country ballads (‘Red violins’) with Hall & Oates–style bad rock (take you pick of any track) and the end result? A directionless collection of Americana which never identifies or reaches the heights of their influences. 

And who are exactly their influences? Can’t even tell on Get Hurt. The Gaslight Anthem went from a punk band to stardom playing Born to Run clones and now, it seems, are struggling. Remember, "The highway’s jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive…" Get Hurt is not a step forward for The Gaslight Anthem.

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