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 American Slang album - personal reviews

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e7c
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PostSubject: Re: American Slang album - personal reviews   Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:46 am

Carryon8, Rem999 and SundayGirl, thanks for the excellent reviews! For the most part I pretty much agree with you all! Being a vinyl addict, I must say that the idea that it is designed for vinyl is correct. They had done this on Sink or Swim too.

I personally like the B-side, all of my favorite songs are on the second half (except for Bring it On) and my two least favorite songs are on the first half.
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bringiton
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PostSubject: Re: American Slang album - personal reviews   Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:37 am

I am one who listened to this straight away and did find it quite a bad album at first. There was only about two songs I could listen too without thinking, well this is rubbish. I thought it was just average guitar riffs that weren't catchy and I thought the lyrics meant absolutely nothing. Thank god for my perseverance, literally now ever since it leaked I've had it on on my paper round every morning and I definitely found it to be a grower. The riff's started circulating at school in my head, and I found myself singing the lyrics randomly. It's now grown in to one of my favorite albums of all time and I don't think I've come close to playing it out, even though I've listened to it about 76 times. I've never really been a fan of the title track, but even that's growing on me. As with the lyrics, every morning I realize something new about the lyrics, for example what a certain lyric means when at the start I just didn't have a clue about them. I'm now opening to at least my own interpretations and some of the stories Brian's singing about hit home for me. Superb album, can't wait for my album + t shirt + badge pack next week, and Manchester Academy the week after.
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sundaygirl
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PostSubject: Re: American Slang album - personal reviews   Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:20 am

Some of my favorite songs and albums have been ones that have had to grow on me - I think sometimes they are the most lasting ones.

I love the lyrics on this album - I've got your name tattooted inside of my arm - the fountain where I drank my heroe's blood - ect. Gorgeous! When I was writng the review I so wanted to quote loads of them cos they were so good. Finally my editor was like "pick your favorites, the rest have to go." Awww!
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A_Note_And_A_Rose
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PostSubject: Re: American Slang album - personal reviews   Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:57 am

The Diamond Church Street Choir got to the top of my 25 most played within a week. Over 100.

'Nuff said.

It's a fantastic album, lyrics have improved overall I think, killer riffs and hooks, and stronger all the way through (for me) than T59S was.

Loving it.
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verbos
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PostSubject: Re: American Slang album - personal reviews   Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:06 pm

So, after many, many listens to this album it's interesting to see what's changed about my opinion (to me, at least, so I'm going to write it). At first, I thought maybe some of the songs could've been a little more thought out and full. I felt a little like some songs kinda died out before they really reached a climax. The bridges of a couple of these songs really stood out to me: American Slang and the pure emotion that filled it, Orphans and the chuga-chuga-chuga guitar riff throughout, Old Haunts and the completely bombastic, soulful burst that was its bridge - all of these I loved. I felt a little letdown by songs like "The Queen of Lower Chelsea", "We Did it When...", and, let's say, "Boxer", where to me they all seemed to stop just short of some sort of climactic moment where everything in the song would surge together into something purely emotional and cathartic. I think at first I was looking for these moments, and I saw more potential a lot of these songs than what I was actually hearing.

But slowly my mind began to change. I started to think that this album wasn't about climactic moments. I started to think that if every song reached some sort of ridiculously awe-inspiring climax, it would be too repetitive. It would sound too structured, poppy, and not as emotional. "The Queen..." has become one of my favorite songs just for that reason. That, and "We Did It..." are, my opinion, elegantly understated; In my mind, intentionally so. I wasn't feeling it at first but in the context of the album I think it's beautifully done. These guys know how to write songs that explode with emotion at the climax, and some of the songs on this album draw attention away from that; In my mind successfully putting more emphasis on other parts of the song. The "Where thou dies, I shall die..." portion of "The Queen..." punches me in the gut every time. I absolutely love it.

I like to think this was intentional in the context of the album. With themes of getting older, living in the past, thinking about old loves and things that could've been, and struggling with growing up, it makes sense to me that there should be a certain level of understatement. What is life but expectations not met?

Or, it could simply be that they wrote everything in a couple of weeks and hammered them out in the studio.

I like to think that it's the former; but hey, music is what the listener makes of it.

This is my thought. Thank you for reading. Or not reading. Whichever you chose.
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PostSubject: Re: American Slang album - personal reviews   Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:25 pm

verbos wrote:

Or, it could simply be that they wrote everything in a couple of weeks and hammered them out in the studio.

Thanks for the well thought out review. Honestly, though, I'm leaning to the part I left quoted from your review as what I think the reason for some of the songs being "understated" is. Many of the bridges are extremely similar and pretty much every song is by-the-book formulaic. By my count (and I could be wrong) American Slang, Stay Lucky, Diamond Street Church Choir, Queen of Lower Chelsea, Orphans, Old Haunts, and The Spirit of Jazz all employ standard verse/chorus/verse 2/chorus/bridge/chorus outro form. That's 80% of the album. Not saying that can't make good music, but I think its disappointing to me they couldn't mix that format up at all for most of the album.

I shudder every time I hear something along the lines of "I had no clue what to write than one night all the songs just came to me" because you usually end up with a lot of hackneyed filler lyrics, underdeveloped songs, and songs that all sound the same (as Fallon said was the case with AS).

(Wow, I seem overly harsh regarding this album, I'll post my full thoughts later hopefully... in short I think its a good, yet underwhelming, disc that is a very good companion to their first two CDs but doesn't break any new ground or further the band's development as 59S did after SOS)
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verbos
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PostSubject: Re: American Slang album - personal reviews   Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:30 pm

Haha well put. I don't know if it's my age or what but this album has really hit me in a good place. It definitely took some time to really grow on me. It would be nice to see them go back every once in a while to the formula that was generally used on Sink or Swim, though... That would thrown in a little more variety.
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PostSubject: Re: American Slang album - personal reviews   Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:37 pm

So I waited for my vinyl. Luckily it came yesterday. There are certain parts I love the way it is produced. How theyre so basic and no bulls#it. I guess just raw. Stay Lucky was the perfect 2nd song. Yes, 2nd song. A spot on an album the is underestimated. Main points, opening track,closing track,2nd track,2nd to last track. It's all a big puzzle piece to me I guess haha. I love how the sides are separate in a sense. I said this in a different thread before I listened to the album, but if it could almost be two ep's make an album, I'm sold. Well I'm off to sleep before this turns into one of those druken rants from a kid that doesnt drink.
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verbos
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PostSubject: Re: American Slang album - personal reviews   Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:40 pm

IKeeptheDiner wrote:
Well I'm off to sleep before this turns into one of those druken rants from a kid that doesnt drink.

You should go drink. Then post.

There is no point to this post other than to encourage drunk posting. I apologize.
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PostSubject: Re: American Slang album - personal reviews   Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:33 am

Ok guys, here goes. FINALLY! I listened. I rec'd my pre-order CD on Saturday. I ordered it Tuesday, and was sent Media Mail, and got it pretty quick. I only listened to the CD twice, with no distratctions, and wanted to put my reviews / thoughts on the board. Not only for you folks to dissect and comment on, but for me to look back in 6 months at what I wrote, and think, something like, "Man, I can't believe I had [insert song here] ranked in the bottom half of American Slang".

My initial observations:
Excellent, excellent CD. Can't wait to drive home from work to give it another listen. Run to Target tomorrow and plunk down $7, no make that plunk down $14 and buy two. It's awesome.
Great lyrics, once again. Perhaps even more meaningful than T59S.
Predicting strong lasting staying power.
Good variety in types of songs.
Not one filler song. No skipping for me
With all pressure to follow up T59S, they did it. They managed to follow it up, with a gem, IMHO. I had some concerns that they would go a different direction or I wouldn't like them as much, but fears have been allayed.
I do think Brian's voice is a bit more polished, more produced on this one. And I'm not sure that's even a negative.
CD is definitely bottom heavy...I like Side B much better.

Ok, now for the ranking of the songs (after two listens)
First: Spirit of Jazz (Fell in love on first listen)

2nd: Orphans

3rd: Bring It On (Absolutely love the "give me the fevers that just won't break, give me the children you don't want to raise". Maybe b/c I'm a dad, and married, but man that does it for me. Strong)

4th: Boxer (can see why this being a radio single)

5th: American Slang ( I was the same person who posted a month ago, that I did NOT like AS the only time I heard it on their myspace. Now I can't get the "cut me to ribbons and taught me to drive" out of my head! Weird, I know.

6th: Old Haunts

7th: Diamond Church Street Choir

8th: We did it when we were young (Although the reviews on this song we're not super favorable, I kinda like it. I won't skip it)

9th: Stay Lucky (Very surprising that Stay Lucky is #9 for me. After reading user reviews , before listening to it, I predicted that this one would be one of my faves...it didn't happen. Maybe it will. )

10th: Queen of Lower Chelsea

Looking forward to hearing others' thoughts.
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PostSubject: Re: American Slang album - personal reviews   Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:08 am

verbos wrote:
"The Queen..." has become one of my favorite songs just for that reason. That, and "We Did It..." are, my opinion, elegantly understated.
Yeah, same here. The Queen of Lower Chelsea became my absolute favourite after 2 or 3 spins. The first song that caught my attention was Boxer, which I still like very much, but TQoLS has that wonderful, heart-breaking guitar lick which could only come from Alex. That's the defining moment of the whole album for me.
On the other hand, I can't quite grasp why Orphans is being rated so high. It's become the only song on AS that I skip every single time. I think it completely misses that special something, and rather sounds like a cheap Ferris Wheel copy.
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PostSubject: Re: American Slang album - personal reviews   Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:26 pm

"Ok guys, here goes. FINALLY! I listened. I rec'd my pre-order CD on Saturday. I ordered it Tuesday, and was sent Media Mail, and got it pretty quick. I only listened to the CD twice, with no distratctions, and wanted to put my reviews / thoughts on the board. Not only for you folks to dissect and comment on, but for me to look back in 6 months at what I wrote, and think, something like, "Man, I can't believe I had [insert song here] ranked in the bottom half of American Slang".


My initial observations:
Excellent, excellent CD. Can't wait to drive home from work to give it another listen. Run to Target tomorrow and plunk down $7, no make that plunk down $14 and buy two. It's awesome.
Great lyrics, once again. Perhaps even more meaningful than T59S.
Predicting strong lasting staying power.
Good variety in types of songs.
Not one filler song. No skipping for me
With all pressure to follow up T59S, they did it. They managed to follow it up, with a gem, IMHO. I had some concerns that they would go a different direction or I wouldn't like them as much, but fears have been allayed.
I do think Brian's voice is a bit more polished, more produced on this one. And I'm not sure that's even a negative.
CD is definitely bottom heavy...I like Side B much better.



Ok, now for the ranking of the songs (after two listens)
First: Spirit of Jazz (Fell in love on first listen)

2nd: Orphans

3rd: Bring It On (Absolutely love the "give me the fevers that just won't break, give me the children you don't want to raise". Maybe b/c I'm a dad, and married, but man that does it for me. Strong)

4th: Boxer (can see why this being a radio single)

5th: American Slang ( I was the same person who posted a month ago, that I did NOT like AS the only time I heard it on their myspace. Now I can't get the "cut me to ribbons and taught me to drive" out of my head! Weird, I know.

6th: Old Haunts

7th: Diamond Church Street Choir

8th: We did it when we were young (Although the reviews on this song we're not super favorable, I kinda like it. I won't skip it)

9th: Stay Lucky (Very surprising that Stay Lucky is #9 for me. After reading user reviews , before listening to it, I predicted that this one would be one of my faves...it didn't happen. Maybe it will. )

10th: Queen of Lower Chelsea

Looking forward to hearing others' thoughts."






Excellent review. As I read your review it took me back to the first time that I listened to the album. After one or two listens, the songs that caught my immediate attention as favorites are pretty much the same songs ranked highest in your review as well (orphans, boxer, the spirit of jazz, bring it on, old haunts). A couple of months later those songs are still favorites of mine; although my opinion has definitely changed for some of the other tracks. For example, American slang, We did it when we were young, and The queen of lower chelsea were all songs that I considered "average-good", but in comparison to TGA's other albums/songs, they were slightly "below average" to me at that time (upon one or two listens); however, after many listens, those three songs slowly began to grow on me, especially The queen of lower chelsea and American Slang. Sometimes certain songs have elements that make it quite difficult to notice or appreciate upon one or two listens. The queen of lower chelsea is like that to me; it's a brilliant song! At this point, if I had to rank the songs, they would look something like this:
1. Orphans
2. Boxer
3. The spirit of jazz
4. Old haunts
5. Bring it on
6. The queen of lower chelsea
7. American slang
8. We did it when we were young
9. Stay lucky
10. The diamond church street choir (sounds much better live in my opinion)

Overall, it's a very good album!
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PostSubject: Re: American Slang album - personal reviews   Tue Jun 22, 2010 4:26 pm

Hey everyone!

I'm a huge gaslight fan and have been reading this forum for ages now, but this is my first post as I never really felt I had anything to contribute - but I love this album so darn much that I had to say-

It's just awesome. Took me a while to get into it, at first I was just a bit miffed it wasn't another 59 sound, but I soon realised it's way more than that - more meaningful, more melodic and Brian's vocals are just beaut! Favourite songs have got to be Stay Lucky, Bring it On, DSCC, and Spirit of Jazz... ooh and WDIWWWY... and Old Haunts... oh my gosh, I honestly couldn't choose - there is not one song on this album I would skip, and that happens so rarely with me.

Oh, I just WISH I didn't have exams next week so I could go see them at the HMV forum!
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PostSubject: Re: American Slang album - personal reviews   Wed Jun 23, 2010 2:37 pm

finally got my CD, one week late. To be honest ive been close to download it a few times, but i didnt! Very Happy have listen to it twice now. My first reaction was that this wasnt what i was expecting, or hoping, for is a better word for it. i wanted a rougher sound. but after another try i startin to like it more and more so i think this will grow on me! i really like it, dont get me wrong. i think this is album need more time then the others, thats all.. There is some amazing tracks! Boxer might be the best "new song" ive heard in the last few months, wow!

thats all for now

Stay Lucky
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PostSubject: Re: American Slang album - personal reviews   Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:15 pm

I took my time, let the album sink in, and then started writing. I wrote a lot. A whole lot. So I broke it up into five parts, if you have any interest in another personal review at this point:

SIDE ONE
http://popculturenotes.blogspot.com/2010/07/american-slang-gaslight-anthem-side-one.html

SIDE TWO
http://popculturenotes.blogspot.com/2010/07/american-slang-gaslight-anthem-side-two.html

THE SPRINGSTEEN CONUNDRUM
http://popculturenotes.blogspot.com/2010/07/american-slang-gaslight-anthem.html

THE AMERICAN DREAM
http://popculturenotes.blogspot.com/2010/07/american-slang-gaslight-anthem-american.html

FINAL THOUGHTS
http://popculturenotes.blogspot.com/2010/07/american-slang-gaslight-anthem-final.html


Sadly, I probably could've written even more, but I'll just have to save that for post show (only a few days!)
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