Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The Best Records of 2008 - The Gaslight Anthem's "The '59 Sound"
For some reason, the Gaslight Anthem are usually lumped in with some wildly inferior bands (tourmates Rise Against spring to mind immediately) but they couldn't be further from that cookie-cutter mall punk sound. The Gaslight Anthem (and I'm stealing this) are more like Bruce Springsteen as sung by the Bouncing Souls.
Their latest record, The '59 Sound, is a truly great rock and roll record. It's unpretentious to a fault (they quote "Round Here" by the Counting Crows without a hint of irony) and manages to be earnest without a hint of cheese - no easy feat I assure you.
The Gaslight Anthem are indebted to their influences, name-checking them early and often (from Bob Seger to Tom Waits and the aforementioned Bruce Sprngsteen). The songs are uplifting and the canvas they're painting on, like The Hold Steady, may seem limited in scope, but in their hands surprises with minute details in lyrics that can make you laugh and cry. It's easy to see why teenagers love this band-they're singing about them-but these songs are anthems meant to be played loud and grown-ups will find just the right level of nostalgia to keep them interested.
There were better records released this year from a technical perspective - The Gaslight Anthem are not out to reinvent the wheel here - but, I don't really want to listen to those records as much as I do "The '59 Sound" which happens to be my most listened to release of 2008 and is looking to remain that way in 2009.