Uhmmmmmm, this?

Or the best version of this I could find pre-release, anyway…pretty killer sound for live, guitar is incredibly clear….it’s the much-anticipated “Handwritten,” who cares?!

“Who else can say that about you, baby? 
Who else can say that about you now? 
Who else can take all your blood and your curses? 
Nobody I’ve seen you hanging around.”
~Biloxi Parish
The Gaslight Anthem, Handwritten

This was a good day to hear this album. Good day for something new and yet familiar.

This album is striking me really well, definitely a summer album. Too soon to tell if it surpasses “American Slang” but it does effectively tear my heart out. Same themes, music and mortality and near-fatal romance…while critiqued as repetitive, I wouldn’t expect or desire anything else than something this polished, melodic, impassioned. 

Starting with the already-classic “45” giving you just a taste of the hooks to come, in its entirety Gaslight has stretched its best qualities to the limit: it’s visceral, sensory and sing-a-longtastic, there’s guitar lines that cry and then sob, and vocally Brian Fallon has never sounded this good, or this much like a rock star. Lyrically, it all feels somehow sadder than the past albums, less hopeful, more desperate. 

Title track, in true TGA form, is also amazing.

“And to ease the loss of youth and the many, many years I missed you
Pages plead forgiveness, every word handwritten”

~Handwritten
The Gaslight Anthem, Handwritten

And, like past albums, “Handwritten” ends on a soft, sad acoustic note with “National Anthem,” nostalgic and aching to recover…“I already live with too many ghosts.”

Sidenote: Getting a little tired of every-single-fucking-reviewer comparing TGA to Springsteen. Own. Band. Decades. Later. And E Street has sax. Do we HEAR any sax on this? No. Did E Street do double-time? No. Get. The. Fuck. Over it.