Breaking up is hard to do. Owning up can be even harder.
That’s how it is for Gaslight Anthem leader Brian Fallon, anyway. Even though his band’s fifth full-length Get Hurt was informed by his divorce, the singer-guitarist is reluctant to admit he’s made a breakup album.
“Um, that depends on what day you ask me,” the 34-year-old New Jersey native hedges. “It is what happened during that period. And a lot of the stuff in there is about that. A lot of it is about my frustration and my struggle … But I’ll tell you one thing: It’s not (Bob Dylan’s) Blood on the Tracks, that’s for sure. The record is not that. But I’m, uh, developing my opinions as I go.”
It’s not the only development. The disc also showcases a few new wrinkles in Fallon’s songwriting — more metallic guitars, poppier choruses and sonic experimentation — as he continues to evolve beyond the Clash-meets-Springsteen heartland punk of previous releases like The ’59 Sound and American Slang.
With Get Hurt debuting in the top five on Billboard’s album chart, and with the band touring north of the border in September, Fallon weighed in on the Kardashians, turning tragedy into art and how much attention he pays to Robin Thicke. Some highlights:
Congrats on the new album, and condolences on what’s behind it. There’s got be an easier way to get material.
Well, the record is what I did during difficulties. But I wouldn’t say the record is directly about the difficulties — not as much as people think. I’m not writing a news column. It’s not like, here’s the details and here’s the street name. It’s not the Kardashians, it’s a band. I want to write songs people can relate to right away. But I try to write in a broader sense. So it may seem very specific, but it’s not necessarily about the things you think. It’s a funny way of trying to articulate yourself in a song, and sometimes it’s very difficult.
When it was all happening, did you think: Well, this sucks, but it’s gonna make a great record?