Sound — 8
The Gaslight Anthem formed in 2006, when at the time they were going by the name This Charming Man, but changed their name and musical direction. Initially their sound had evident punk influences, but over time their sound has become more "blue collar" rock music. "Get Hurt" is the band's fifth studio album, following the release of their compilation album "The B-Sides" earlier this year. The "Deluxe Edition" of the album contains 16 tracks and clocks in at approximately 55 minutes (the standard edition has 12 tracks and is around 40 minutes). They released "Rollin' and Tumblin'" as their lead single in early July. It was soon followed by the second and third singles from the album, "Get Hurt," and "Stay Vicious."
The album opens up with the single, "Stay Vicious," which is a little bit harder than what you may be used to from The Gaslight Anthem, and from here they utilize a lot of quiet/loud dynamics. "1,000 Years" is next, and this track definitely has my favorite bass line, as well as my favorite lyric with "I heard about a woman, once, who did everything ever asked of her. She died last week and her last words were 'It wasn't worth it.'" The single, "Get Hurt," has a kind of plaintive and melancholy vibe to it. "Stray Paper" has a really strong Bruce Springsteen thing going on with it. "Helter Skeleton" is another track that uses the quiet/loud dynamics, and it also subtly utilizes a few stylistic elements from some '50s and '60s era rock. "Underneath the Ground" has an almost fake-sounding drum part, and uses a simple melody for a lot of the track. "Rollin' and Tumblin'" has an intro that would fit on a Black Keys album, but when it gets into the meat of the song it does something a little bit different. "Red Violins" makes me want to tap my foot, but it is also another track that reminds me strongly of Bruce Springsteen. "Selected Poems" has a nostalgic vibe to it, and feels like a sing-along type of song. "Ain't That a Shame" has an intro kind of like something that Black Keys would do, once again, but it quickly turns into a more straightforward rock song. "Break Your Heart" has an intro that reminds me of Green Day and "I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty. The (standard edition) album closes out with the track "Dark Places" which opens with a voice only, which slowly fades in until the instrumentation crashes into the track and the vocals go up to full volume. "Sweet Morphine" is the first of the bonus tracks, and it sounds like a country folk song with some slightly heavier instrumentation. "Mama's Boys" is the next bonus track, which has an acoustic guitar and a harmonica in the intro, but later in the song it gets a few more layers. "Halloween" is another bonus track, and honestly it has a kind of Modest Mouse vibe to it, and is probably my favorite track on the album. The bonus songs close out with "Have Mercy," which makes a lot of use of reverb and delay with the vocals and guitar.
Lyrics — 7
Brian Fallon at times mimics two of his self-stated greatest influences when doing vocals - Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty. This isn't a bad thing, as they're both great vocalists in their own right. Still, the brief moments when Brian's character comes through his vocals (instead of mimicking his idols) is when he really shines. A good example would be on the track "Dark Places." The rest of the band provides backing vocals, and they do a respectable job on that front. The lyrics run the gamut a little bit in quality, but for the most part are the standard type of rock song subjects.
As a sample of the lyrics from the album, here are lyrics from the second single and title track, "Get Hurt": "Sometimes I wake up in the morning/ sometimes I dream some more/ I keep my wounds without a bandage/ baby, as I come stumbling through the door/ spent my nights in this location/ talking to spirits on the floor/ I think I came to find the feeling, baby/ between what was mine and what was yours/ and I came to get hurt/ might as well do your worst to me/ have you come here to get hurt/ have you come to take her away from me/ from me, from me/ might as well do your worst to me/ I think I'm gonna move to California/ I can start to love/ Momma can you say a prayer for me/ say a prayer for me/ I heard they don't get so low-down/ I heard they never bleed/ not like we bleed."
Overall Impression — 8
I go back and forth with how I feel about The Gaslight Anthem, but at the end of the day you have to respect that they're talented songwriters. This isn't a totally new approach that The Gaslight Anthem had promised about this album when they were in the studio, but it isn't a carbon copy of their previous releases, either. My favorite track would be "Halloween," which is a bonus track from the deluxe edition, and otherwise the album is pretty solid for listening from beginning to end so I have no "least favorite" track.