I immediately declared heresy on Jesse Malin’s Glitter in the Gutter(March, 2007) after spying on the cover, a remake of The Replacements’ timeless ‘Bastards of Young’. However, after a couple of listens, Malin’s acoustic, world weary, slowed-down version of Paul Westerberg’s lost generational anthem, gradually grew on me until it inched its way to the top of my daily ‘must listen’ cd shuffle. No easy feat, me being, Miss Morning-Misery, here. Then again, that’s not to say I prefer it to the original - not a chance.
Jesse has been making music for over 27 years, starting at the age of 12 with punk/rock bands. His third solo album, Glitter In The Gutter was not what I expected. I was hoping Malin's album would invoke the same jaded rocker angst as The Fine Art Of Self-Destruction.
This album has everyone noteworthy on it, to the point where I wonder if ‘solo’ release is truly accurate. The album features appearances from Ryan Adams, Chris Shifflett of Foo Fighters, Josh Homme, Jakob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen who contributes his vocals to 'Broken Radio'. While Springsteen’s vocals flavour ‘Broken Radio’ in a very “Boss’ way, the result is that the tune becomes both predictable and, for some, comfortable.
In listening to the cd several times to and from work, I was struck with the fact that the songs are well written from a technical/business point of view. There are the prerequisite hooks, fun and interesting lyrics (gotta love, ‘you know I can’t resist, my little anarchist’ on Black Haired Girl) and good melodies. Listen to the music and turn down Jesse’s vocals; you can almost hear The Gin Blossoms or Toad & the Wet Sprocket. Turn up the vocals and you have the same well written tunes, fronted by a chain smoking, hard-livin’ voice that was predominate on the airwaves before the studios’ advent of autotune (not to say that Jesse smokes, drinks, etc - he just has that hard voice.)
Let’s just say that Jesse Malin is an acquired taste. This CD is good, but I would recommend buying his CD, The Fine Art Of Self-Destruction prior to this venture. Call it an ice-breaker, if you will. 7/10
I have starred the songs worth a download purchase
1. Don't Let Them Take You Down*
2. In The Modern World - featuring Ryan Adams
3. Tomorrow Tonight - featuring Josh Homme
4. Broken Radio - featuring Bruce Springsteen & Ryan Adams
5. Prisoners Of Paradise - featuring Chris Shiflett [Foo Fighters]
6. Black Haired Girl - featuring Jakob Dylan [Wallflowers]
8. Love Streams
9. Little Star - featuring Ryan Adams
10. Bastards Of Young - The Replacements cover written by Paul Westerberg.*
11. Happy Ever After (Since You're In Love 2007)
12. NY Nights
13. Aftermath - featuring Ryan Adams*