The Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt

The Gaslight Anthem - Get Hurt

Band: The Gaslight Anthem
Album: Get Hurt

Written by: Chiara DiAngelo

There’s a line in “Selected Poems” that recounts “And all in all I find that nothing stays the same.” It’s true. The Gaslight Anthem’s Get Hurt is not the same. The band’s punk edge of the Sink or Swim days has faded over the years, and even their unmistakable Bruce Springsteen blue collar Americana-ness is now less overt, having been tempered at times on this release in favour of polished – sometimes even electronic-based – arrangements. There is also a sense of weary maturity to much of the writing, with fragments of divorce, loss, and inner struggles scattered throughout.

Album opener “Stay Vicious” offers the first taste of a new side to the band. Grungy and angsty, frontman Brian Fallon’s raspy growl bangs down the door and barges in with squelching guitar riffs before tiptoeing back and transforming into a quieter jam complete with “La la la”s. Heralding meaty hooks and plenty of opportunities to sing along to, the record settles into more familiar territory with “1,000 Years,” “Stray Paper,” and “Ain’t That A Shame.”

Another banger, lead single “Rollin and Tumblin” is awkward lyrically – the title always just seems to be thrown in against the timing – but the crashing guitars, Benny Horowitz’s power-heavy drums, and repeated “oh my my”s make it a straight-up anthem that quickly wins you over. Similarly, “Helter Skeleton” and “Red Violins” rev up to full volume and come alive with splashes of poppy guitars to make you move your feet.

Title track “Get Hurt” boasts wavering twinkles of atmospheric keys from Alex Rosamilia (guitar, keys, vocals), spinning despondent tragedy into something melodic and Pearl Jam-y that seriously hurts so good. Unlike the success of this track, the biggest miss on the record is “Underneath the Ground.” It’s not quite a ballad, but just slow enough to be boring, and while it offers a measure of heartfelt thankfulness “for watching us bleed,” the spoken vocal track kills the sentiment. It’s the one song I’ve taken to hitting “skip” on.

There always seems to be that one gut-wrenching folk ballad on each of TGA’s records, and the intensely personal “Break Your Heart” is Get Hurt’s. It emotes the intimacy of peeling away layer after carefully concealed layer of one’s heart until the scars marking past inner turmoil are naked and on display. Regardless of your current emotional and relationship status, all you’ll want to do is slip under the covers and sink into the misery, because Fallon makes it sound so sweet. Following this emotional upheaval, closing track “Dark Places” hides the heavy darkness of its lyrics (“All of the things that I tried to explain / How something inside of me started to break”) underneath climactic chords and massive hooks sure to spontaneously compel crowds into cathartic singalongs when experienced live.

If you spring for the deluxe version of Get Hurt, you’ll be rewarded with country-tinged “Sweet Morphine” and “Halloween,” as well as the harmonica-laden “Mama’s Boys.” Exclusively on iTunes, the stripped down simplicity of sweetly sad “Have Mercy” makes you believe sometimes, less truly is more.

The Gaslight Anthem rolls into Toronto with Against Me! on September 19, well worth the trek to the Sound Academy.

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Categories: Recorded


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