In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!
The Gaslight Anthem is a band that inevitably draws comparisons to other artists, whether they’re channeling the sound of Social Distortion, the spirit of Johnny Cash, or the lyrics of the Boss. It only makes sense, then, that this group of Jersey Shore boys has a knack for covers. This blog has spotlighted some of their best work before. Who could forget their haunting full-band reading of Johnny Cash’s “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” or singer Brian Fallon’s totally sincere and totally amazing reworking of Kelly Clarkson’s “I Do Not Hook Up”?
For this installment of In the Spotlight, though, I wanted to dig a little deeper and find some less-represented Gaslight covers. This is a band that is totally about context—their place in rock ‘n’ roll seems wholly dependent on those that have come before (for example, try to find a Gaslight review that does not mention Bruce Springsteen. Go ahead, I dare you). The goal here was to find a range of covers to show that the band is not only aware of those comparisons, but is also aware that their audience knows them too. Thus, while some of their choices in cover songs—Springsteen, Tom Petty—are pretty obvious, others—the Replacements, The Who—are a bit of a curve ball. Even a song that’s essentially become a standard for our era (Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”) receives a fresh treatment complete with new vocal melody. In a nutshell, the songs below illustrate that Gaslight knows what their fans want, but also knows how to keep them on their toes.
Much like Springsteen, The Gaslight Anthem likes to keep a couple covers in their pocket on each tour, pulling them out at random intervals (much to their fans’ delight). Several of the songs below are currently in rotation. Maybe some of you Europe-dwelling folk will be lucky enough to catch one as they traverse the continent over the next several weeks. You can catch a complete list of tour dates on the band’s MySpace page.