Sound — 8
The Gaslight Anthem has been compared to Bruce Springsteen so much it is ridiculous, but this album shows that side of their sound a little bit more than previous releases - with some of their most Springsteen-like moments captured on a single disc. This compilation includes 11 tracks - all of which are either/and acoustic, live or cover versions of songs.
The album starts out with "She Loves You" which was an iTunes bonus track from the "American Slang" album, and this is the same version of the track. "The '59 Sound (Acoustic)" is an acoustic version of the title track from the album, "The '59 Sound." "State of Love and Trust (Live)" is a Pearl Jam cover that The Gaslight Anthem have been covering live for a little while, and they have actually had Eddie Vedder sit in live with them to perform this track, but not on this recording. "Tumbling Dice" is a cover of The Rolling Stones track, which The Gaslight Anthem originally released on the Australian bonus disc of "American Slang." "The Queen of Lower Chelsea (Acoustic)" is an acoustic version of the song found on the "American Slang" album. "Songs for Teenagers" is a cover of the song originally recorded by their ex-label mates, Fake Problems. This is definitely one of the stand out tracks from the album. "Great Expectations (Acoustic)" is an acoustic version of the song from the album, "The '59 Sound." "Antonia Jane (Acoustic)" is a cover of the song from the band Lightning Dust, which is a Canadian indie-rock duo consisting of two members of the hard rock band, Black Mountain. Gaslight Anthem originally released this cover on their Australian tour bonus disc for their "American Slang" album. "American Slang (Acoustic)" is an acoustic version of the title track of the album, "American Slang." "Boxer (Acoustic)" is an acoustic version of the song from the album, "American Slang." The compilation closes out with "Once Upon a Time," which is a cover of the song by Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise, and was the iTunes bonus track for the album "The '59 Sound." Overall, this is a solid compilation of acoustic and live songs, but it would have been nice if an acoustic version of any of the songs from their debut album was included.
Lyrics — 7
Brian Fallon does a great job with the backdrop of acoustic instrumentation on this album, showing a side of his vocals that aren't always evident. The lyrics themselves are nothing new, but here are some lyrics from the cover track "Songs for Teenagers," which was written by Fake Problems: "Looking for love in all the wrong places/ Wanted to be famous but ended up in Naples/ Love is not the answer, I'm in love with this stuff/ I spent every last dime in the backseat of a stranger's truck/ It's okay, I'm all right/ I'll be okay/ First time It felt like I was gonna die/ But I've gotten pretty good at telling myself it's fine/ Anna talks me down and gives me sips from her beer/ Head pounding reveille, how did I get here? / It's all right. I'll be okay/ Let it go, let it go, all the way down, 'til there's nowhere left to fall/ It's a shame, all the ways we build ourselves up, just to let each other down."
Overall Impression — 7
This isn't so much new music, as it is a collection of songs that the average fan might not have unless they buy all the singles and special editions of albums, etc. This isn't a bad compilation in that context, providing you with some "hard-to-find" versions of songs by the band. My favorite songs from the compilation would probably be "Songs for Teenagers," "She Loves You," and "Great Expectations." This isn't necessarily a good album for new fans of The Gaslight Anthem as it doesn't necessarily give a true representation of their overall sound.