Gaslight Anthem's "Get Hurt" Fails To Ignite
"Get Hurt" is an incredibly difficult album to review for several reasons. Primarily, Fallon has already come out and stated that only 1 out of 5 people will actually like it, and double that will “vehemently hate it”.
On top of that, it is an incredibly long and complex album which happily skips from a classic rock sound to a synth-y anthem and then back.
I only had negative expectations before listening to this album. A good mate and hardcore Gaslight fan told me “it’s probably going to be a little bit s***”. Countless reviewers have expressed their irritation with Fallon’s eclectic style and fewer than the 1/5 predicted are shouting its’ praises.
I think all these reviews lean towards the harsh side. Unfortunately for me and a few others, it is clear that The Gaslight Anthem have truly changed their style of music and musical direction.
Undoubtedly this is down to Fallon’s divorce. Every song on the album carries a dark hangover of some unspeakable anguish which moves their sound far away from ‘Handwritten’ and ‘’59 Sound’. No longer are they the chilled summer band of yester-year.
Where do I stand? Even after listening to it at least 3 times, I still don’t know. Nobody can question the fact that several of the songs on the album are beautifully crafted. “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” immediately springs to mind. It’s quirky off-beat riff seems to perfectly outline Fallon’s aged New-Jersey twang.
Other songs such ‘1000 Years’ really capture the essence of what Gaslight Anthem is about. Alongside another pitiful few, these songs would not be out of place on their brilliant previous albums. ‘Dark Places’ is another, slightly heavier, example of the brilliant simplicity of The Gaslight Anthem. But these quality tracks are too few and far between, and are unlikely to be released as singles.
The problem for me lies in that Fallon is trying too hard to reproduce the anthems which won The Gaslight Anthem their fan-base. Older songs such as ‘Handwritten’ and ‘45’ are perfect for a summer dusk at an outdoor festival. ‘Break Your Heart’, ‘Get Hurt’ and ‘Sweet Morphine’ amongst others are trying to be of the same ilk but falling far short of their mark, mainly because they lack substance.
Ironically, there are also far too many tracks which are too erratic and are trying to do too much. Nothing shows this more than the opening track, ‘Stay Vicious’. Fallon’s poor Brett Smith (Shinedown) impersonation leaves a lot to be desired, and leaves a sour taste in the mouth for the rest of the album.
All in all, it’s not an album which should be listened to all the way through. There are a few gems hidden in the album which I would be happy to listen to occasionally, but these are outnumbered by an astounding number of poor tracks.
Written by Ollie Samuels