Brian Fallon, Bruce Springsteen, Gaslight Anthem, Music, Photos, Thunder Road

If Mary Said No

First things first. Springsteen’s Thunder Road is one of the greatest songs of all times. It’s a treasure in the musical history of this entire human race. It holds the coveted number 2 spot on my Springsteen Five and is written in a fashion intellectual and emotional moons beyond even the ‘great’ literary works of this century, musical or whatever. And I fail to exaggerate.

Second things second. The Gaslight Anthem, a quartet of Jersey rockers, is as close as we’ll ever get to Bruce Springsteen in our lifetime. Brian Fallon (born in Red Bank), its frontman, in particular, is ready to take the stage already set by The Boss. If Bruce would allow them to open a show one night, this would be even more obvious to his legions of fans, most of which probably have no clue about anything of which I’m speaking (though Bruce and Brian have played on stage together more than once). But truth is truth. Gaslight is one of my favorite bands of all-time, and two of their albums would most likely bust their way onto my all-time top five list. That’s heavy.

Handwritten, their latest effort, is loaded with Bruce-esque gems (it’s scary how well Fallon has the part down). In particular, however, is Howl, a short, power-rock ditty. Behind The Backseat, it’s my favorite Gaslight tune, and I recently stumbled on to an incredibly awesome theory that it is a continuation, of sorts, of the aforementioned Thunder Road. Maybe more like an alternate ending, if you will, that presupposes that Mary didn’t take that fateful freedom ride. Years later, after Mary’s tried to move on, our leading man returns with the same goal and that same love. How I didn’t recognize this sooner, I have absolutely no idea but gracefully accept the shame. Let’s take a look.

Hey, wake it up
Hey, shake it out
Does anything still move you since you’re educated now?
And all grown up and travelled so well
Do you still hear the sound of the thunder while you lie up by yourself?

Like you waited on his call and made your plans for great escapes
And there used to be a movement in the way your dress would wave
From your hips on down like electric through the ground

Now do you blow it out come Friday night?
See, if you wanna, you can find me on the hood under the moonlight
Radio (oh, radio), do you believe there’s still some magic left somewhere inside our souls?

Like I waited on your call and made my plans to share my name
And I love the country movement in the way your dress would wave
From your hips on down like electric through the…

…sound of the cars rushing the rain on the boulevard
In this city by the sea that has always haunted me
And belonged to me somehow
Bless your waters and your doubts
Bless your waters
Bless your doubts

If you dig Thunder Road, you’ll see the flashing red lights here. Fantastic, isn’t it? What’s so great about this is that, the universe Springsteen painted is full of characters and their stories. From the struggling laborer in Jack of All Trades to the rebel lovers in the famed Born to Run. And Fallon, who has incredible characters of his own, takes two from the world of Springsteen and gives them another chance to take the stage. And remember, there was no real conclusion to their story in Springsteen’s world of eternal hope. The ball was in Mary’s court, and while we all certainly hoped that she got in that damn car, a happy ending is never guaranteed with Bruce. It’s New Jersey, after all, and we’re not talking about that asshat Bon Jovi.

After all of this is considered, you now understand what music (with special consideration of the work of Springsteen and Gaslight) is all about and why it can be so incredible.


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