Monday, June 21, 2010

Boxer by The Gaslight Anthem

A week ago Rolling Stone on it’s “Hear It Now” page posted American Slang, The Gaslight Anthem’s new album that came out earlier this week. Streaming this album through their website I’ve been moving my wife’s laptop around the house so that I can constantly listen to this album but now I finally have the CD.

I discovered The Gaslight Anthem through Rolling Stone when they made a list about the top 40 things to get excited about music and The Gaslight Anthem a band that I never heard of made the list.

I wrote about their amazing title track from their last album “The ‘59 Sound” in this previous post as I was stunned not only by the musical prowess but the depth of emotion writing a song about the hopes and dreams we have about the transition into death.

Almost every tracks stands out including the personal and powerful title track, a glorious anthem:

However the first glance we got of this album and one of amazing examples of this band's artistry is “Boxer.”

In less than three minutes, “The Gaslight Anthem” tells the story of a man reflecting on a friend he used to have who was a boxer. Somehow, in this short song we get the feeling that we’ve watched a three hour biopic.

The verses begins talking about the surface bravado of the boxer, “got your pride and your pose, tucked just like a tommy gun” and the transition into a deeper emotion as Brain Fallon, the lead singer, tells about how the boxer has a love that he denies he misses.

The chorus is a flurry of figurative language, beautifully arranged talking about salvation and healing in the act of writing and listening to music, “he found bandages inside the pen and the stitches on the radio.” The lyrics that immediately follow are subtle and profound speaking to regret and responsibility.

There was something heavy holding you down
And there were whispers that were driving you crazy
And now you hunt the heart of this town.

There’s a confidence in the craft from the mid-tempo groove to the contrast textures between and the verses and chorus. The story is sad but there’s a sheen of nostalgia, “remember when I knew boxer.” It’s almost like he’s thinking not only about the boxer but a simpler time in his own life. The song is about a boxer but it means so much more and it’s within this depth that there is not only artistry but also beauty.

“The Boxer” may not be the greatest song ever, but right now it certainly feels that way.

1 comment:

  1. Also just got this CD, and those two songs really stood out to me, too! Really like the whole album, though.