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Single Review: The Gaslight Anthem – ‘Rollin’ And Tumblin’

2 min read

Nearly a decade after forming, New Jersey-based punk band The Gaslight Anthem keep things simple and straightforward on Rollin’ And Tumblin. This is currently the lead single off its soon-to-be-released fifth album Get Hurt.

Gaslight Anthem Rollin And TumblinThe track immediately jumps out at listeners. There are no obscure keys, epic key changes or drawn out guitar solos; just a 3-minute melodic, driven punk song. A cursory 10-second descending riff gives way to lead singer Brian Fallon’s vicious grunts, which sound like Bruce Springsteen’s if they were sliced by a (heavy) metal grinder. Particularly in the verses, Fallon delivers the lyrics with such venom that not even the biggest act to come out of the Jersey Shore rock scene (and admittedly one of his biggest inspirations) could muster.

Just as the song threatens to darken, the music and Fallon’s vocals lighten up in the chorus. In contrast to the terse performances that epitomise punk, the other band members play a bit more harmoniously as the song goes a bit pop. The lyrics are bittersweet, as Fallon’s friends ‘wanna get into heaven’, yet he can only pine for someone else to help him get through.

In the second verse, this punk head banger manages to include glistening chimes and corny lines like ‘shimmy shimmy shake’ and ‘spinning with the wind, child’. Of course, Fallon assures listeners that it was all ironic with a simple ‘right?’ and leaps straight into the second chorus.

The song then follows the great rule of pop music: the second chorus should be an extended version of the first chorus. Here, it ends up being catchier (thanks to more hooks like ‘should I take anything?’ and the ‘oh oh my ma my’ background harmonies) and more enthralling, as it expands on the story of drugs and (financial or mental) depression. It is on this note that the song wraps up neatly.

The Gaslight Anthem has put out a song that is evidence of their strong influences such as the Boss, The Replacements, The Clash and punk bands in general.  However, the song is still enjoyable as it is gritty without being too coarse, easy on the ear without being syrupy and most importantly, succinct.