Sometimes the title of an album isn’t just what the band has deemed their latest collection of songs be called. No, sometimes it perfectly captures the experiences their audiences will have upon listening to the record.
Get Hurt, the latest from New Jersey’s favorite sons The Gaslight Anthem, is a record you’re going to come away from damaged — some of you emotionally wrought at the heartbreaking work of genius that the band has put forth and some of you will be heartbroken because this is not The Gaslight Anthem you’ve grown to love.
If you’re looking for the Springsteen-esque anthems that put the band on the map, you’re going to be looking for quite some time. Gone are the “’59 Sounds” and “45’s” of the world and in their place are gritty, grungy, dark, visceral, and raw songs about heartbreak and heartache. There’s no night-at-the-bar sing-a-longs here. This is the band at it’s darkest, rawest, and it’s most angry. However, to the casual fan or the fan of this Boss-ian version of the band, if you don’t approach Get Hurt with an open mind, you’re pretty much going to hate this album.
Yet, one can argue this is Gaslight at its most interesting.
Get Hurt evokes memories of a vintage grunge record — teeming with angst, hate, sorrow, pity, love, loss — all brought to life through stripped down anti-ballads and/or snarling guitar work and equally nasty vocals.
Lead singer Brian Fallon really shows off just how talented he is as a vocalist. The fist in the air denim-and-whiskey vocals have been replaced with anger; a man lashing out with blind rage at the world. It’s also been replaced with simplistic heartbreak. Listen to “Break Your Heart,” a stripped down ballad that is laser-focused on Fallon’s voice. Come away from this one without tears and one could make the argument you have no soul.
There are some truly beautiful moments on Get Hurt, and then there are tracks that are just nasty rock ‘n’ rollers like “Scattered Paper” and “Rollin’ and Tumblin'” that get the adrenaline pumping despite their darker nature. Like we said, it’s very, very grunge-tastic.
While Get Hurt has some great moments, it suffers from a very plodding and frankly dull opening couple of tracks. It’s a tough listen and one can easily see listeners who are merely passing fans completely bailing on this record. But be forewarned — this is a mistake.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Bill Bodkin is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. He can be read weekly on Trailer Tuesday and Singles Party, weekly reviews on Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Hannibal, Law & Order: SVU and regular contributions throughout the week with reviews and interviews. His goal is to write 500 stories this year. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English and currently works in the world of political polling. He’s the reason there’s so much wrestling on the site and is beyond excited to be a Dad this coming December. Follow him on Twitter: @PopBreakDotCom