The lead singer of Gaslight Anthem has released a solo collection of songs that, frankly, sound a lot like the stuff he did with his band. Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that. The band’s New Jersey rock and roll sound is certainly a classic one, and they’ve produced tons of really great songs together–so more isn’t a bad thing.

On the other hand, most of these songs aren’t quite as good as the ones he’s released in his past. They’re well crafted songs, and quite good–several of them are great–but there’s an edge and a hunger missing. It’s normal for an artist to lose that as he becomes popular, but usually that’s accompanied by a maturation of style as well–and these songs really could have been written at any point in Fallon’s career.

But of course, there’s a LOT of positive things here as well. I never review an album that I don’t like. If Your Prayers Don’t Get to Heaven. Etta James. Her Majesty’s Service. These are all very strong songs. And I listened to the entire album twice before I felt ready to review it. The vast majority of albums that come across my desk each year don’t even get one full listen. Forget Me Not borders on extraordinary. And the title track is as good as most of Gaslight Anthem’s seminal record, ’59 Sound.  So is Watson–my favorite song on the record.

So, on the whole, definitely worth a listen.

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