The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten

The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten

I won a copy of The Gaslight Anthem’s 2008 album The ’59 Sound at a punk show in Sacramento back in 2008 or 2009, something like that. When the radio station intern handed me the album I saw that she had a few other albums in her hand and I asked which of the albums was the best – she handed me The Gaslight Anthem. Then I didn’t listen to the damn thing for four years. From 2008 to 2012 I moved exactly five times and brought that album with me everywhere I went; un-listened, jewelcase and all. I wanted to check it out, I wanted to like it; I just never got around to it. I also didn’t have a cd player. That’s an excuse, of course, but logistics matter and my laptop didn’t have a disc drive nor did I have an actual stereo so all of my personal music listening had to be done digitally. Sorry The Gaslight Anthem, what do you want me to do? Get an un-ironic discman? Come on, that’s just not going to happen. Nevertheless, I held on to The ’59 Sound.

Years passed and The Gaslight Anthem released another album that I didn’t listen to, and more years passed and The Gaslight Anthem released another album, their fourth full-length album, Handwritten. But things were different now. Times had changed. Spotify became a thing, my torrent abuse had become borderline alarming and after four years of hanging on to an album that never made it to my ears, I was reminded by my buddy Jason, a dude we used to call “Christpuncher” (obvious Simpsonian reference, but at the time, it seemed to fit), through an effing Facebook post that The Gaslight Anthem had music that needed to be listened to. So I dug it all up. I went through The Gaslight Anthem’s entire catalog, including The ’59 Sound, to finally get a feel for what I had been missing over the past four years.

What I learned is that The Gaslight Anthem’s albums all kind of sound the same. At their best, The Gaslight Anthem is a melodic folk rock band, with some obvious punk roots. Punk rock is fun, we like the punk rock. At their worst, they’re some groove rock, Chris Cornell-wannabe bullshit that sounds like its making fun of something, a la Tenacious D, except, you know, not. But fortunately for us, The Gaslight Anthem seems to always give us more of the rocking, sing-a-long, punkish-folk anthems than the early-90’s, alterna-wailing nonsense; and Handwritten is no different.

Well, maybe just slightly different. And for a band whose previous three albums all kinda sound the same, different might be good. I just think the differences on Handwritten – a bit more of the Chris Cornell impersonations and a few covers, are too subtle to differentiate Handwritten in any real way. So if you like The Gaslight Anthem, you will continue to like them, and you will like this album. But after two weeks of obsessing over this band, The ’59 Sound is still tops.

1. “45”
2. Handwritten
3. Here Comes My Man
4. Mulholland Drive
5. Keepsake
6. Too Much Blood
7. Howl
8. Biloxi Parish
9. Desire
10. Mae
11. National Anthem
12. Sliver (Deluxe Edition)
13. You Got Lucky (Deluxe Edition)

The Gaslight Anthem - Handwritten, reviewed by Delicious on 2012-08-30T12:08:08-07:00 rating 3.6 out of 5

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