thepretender asked: hey, just wanted to say i thought your take on 45 by the gaslight anthem on singles jukebox was completely on point, definitely summed the track up better than i did. -a fellow jonathan
Hey, thanks! That’s great to hear!
I’m never particularly happy with what I write about Gaslight Anthem. I talk about the way the band’s sound has changed over the years in my take on “45,” but as with my reviews of “American Slang” and the Horrible Crowes’s “Behold the Hurricane,” I think I really only scratch the surface of what it is that makes this band so compelling. (For that matter, I’m intrigued very much by your contention that “Brian Fallon is some sort of master at second verses.”)
The fact that you’re writing about a piece of art nearly sacred to you can easily turn into a conviction that it doesn’t matter what you say because you are writing about the greatest thing in the entire world, and that lazy transformation of collectively-held art into personal totem or bullshit “but I was there!”-ism makes for awfully boring reading. The mere fact that you liked an album is not interesting to anyone but you.
As Kelefa Sanneh says, “good critics are good listeners,” but even a good listener needs self-knowledge. So though I can listen to what Brian Fallon’s music does, I haven’t been able to identify why it does what it does to me. Which is a shame: it means instead of talking about the music, I talk about the sounds it makes.
It’s strange how that works. I like about six or seven Katy Perry songs but can go into great detail about exactly how I feel about Perry’s music. But for one of my favorite bands ever, I can’t go much beyond they have guitars and there are emotions.
Incidentally, fellow Jonathan, you share a name with one of my favorite political bloggers. We Jonathan Bs show up in the strangest internet places.