The motto for Gaslight Anthem’s brand new album American Slang is, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! The band has made a perfect follow-up to their hit album The ’59 Sound. I said back in 2008 when that album came out that the band was going to be huge; looks like I was right! Not only has the band played on just about every music festival in the world, gotten loads of radio play; they also got to jam with one of their heroes and influences, Mr. Bruce Springsteen himself.
American Slang is a perfect follow-up in that the band hasn’t changed around their sound all that much, but in fact they made their sound even better! Brian Fallon’s vocals improved and doesn’t have that echo/reverb sound to them, plus his guitar work is highly noticeable and a lot better as well. You can just tell Gaslight Anthem are taking their music very seriously now that they are playing with the big boys. Everyone is watching and listening now, and I think everyone will fall in love with this album! This is Gaslight Anthem’s London Calling if you were.
The title track “American Slang” starts off the album nicely, and you can immediately tell the difference between their sound. They sound tighter, and the production is improved. Not like the production of the last album was bad, but I prefer vocals that don’t have that old-time microphone effect. The second track “Stay Lucky” could be my favorite song on the album. It just captures everything I love about the band. Rockin’ good tune, excellent singing, guitar hooks that make me want to hum the song. Just a perfect song!
The guys still have that “Boss” sound, but have brought in more of their Motown and soul influence as well. You will definitely notice that in “The Diamond Church Street Choir.” Their Sam Cooke influence definitely picks through with that track. I guess you can say they possess that early Springsteen bar band sound too. As I listen to the album over and over again, the guitar playing still stands out. Even little things like finger clicking or subtle background vocals make this album really great. Each song sounds excellent in their own way.
Usual albums tend to get stale at the end but not with American Slang. One of the band’s single “Boxer” is a stand-out track. The beat to it makes you want to move your ass. Besides “Boxer” and “Stay Lucky,” my other favorite is “The Spirit of Jazz.” Gaslight Anthem have amazing intros to their songs, like “The Spirit of Jazz” but the chorus for this song is probably their catchiest. I just want to listen to this song on repeat! But the way radio is today, that shouldn’t be too hard to hear their music constantly this summer. It’s already happening on Sirius XM and I’m sure on terrestrial radio. If I had to pick one song that I didn’t like, it would probably be the last track “We Did It When We Were Young.” It’s not that I don’t like it, I just think the song placement was wrong and the album should have ended with a bang, so to speak. “The Spirit of Jazz” would have been a better choice for last track.
And just like that, the album is over and makes fans wanting more. One positive aspect of having an album this short is there aren’t any filler tracks, but with Gaslight Anthem; none of their songs are filler to me. I couldn’t have thought of a better way to follow-up The ’59 Sound than this album. Truly a hit in the making!
Bottom Line: Gaslight Anthem have another hit album on their hands!
Notable Tracks: Stay Lucky, The Diamond Church Street Choir, Orphans, Boxer, The Spirit of Jazz