I’m pretty sure that this is the album that The Killers hoped to hit when they took a swing at Sam’s Town. As a fan of most things Killers, I enjoyed Sam’s Town just fine for what it was, but the Gaslight Anthem seems to have found the missing link between the current indie rock of the aughties and the swaggering grandeur that once drove the E-Street’s shuffle.
That link is the moment that the Grammy’s did the unfathomable and for once made Rock ‘n Roll History. It’s the moment when Bruce told everyone who’s really The Boss when he took the stage with Elvis Costello and Dave Grohl and other Famous Friends to pay a four-minute tribute to Joe Strummer and the Almighty Clash.
The Gaslight Anthem gets this. Sure, they love that Jersey sound and knowingly reference Mr. Springsteen in the lyrics pinned to their hearts and stapled to their rolled-up working-class sleeves. But they also sold their soul to rock and roll, paying a toll of lost loves, broken vows, estrangement, and decline in hopes that 3 chords and a little truth might someday take them all a little farther down the line.
Listen to the chop-chop-chop-chop guitars in Film Noir and you’ll see what I mean.