Handwritten - The Gaslight Anthem
Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. As listeners, as fans of music, we've already hit the lottery here.
  2. Jul 25, 2012
    80
    As a whole Handwritten has all of the heart-on-rolled-up-sleeve passion that makes the Gaslight Anthem a band that is so easy to love and identify with.
  3. Jul 10, 2012
    90
    Thanks to the expert production of Brendan O'Brien, the record sounds goddamn phenomenal. [Aug 2012, p.83]
  4. 80
    Not only is Handwritten The Gaslight Anthem's best album, but it's also one of the best albums of 2012.
  5. Jul 10, 2012
    90
    The criticisms are minor--a couple of tracks slide back into familiar Americana, but even then there's no sense of the band coasting.
  6. Jul 24, 2012
    70
    The steady driving "Mulholland Drive" and the Roy Orbison-worthy "Here Comes My Man" are among the band's best and could have easily come off their breakthrough 2008 release The '59 Sound.
  7. Jul 25, 2012
    70
    The tunes are a jumble of fidelity betrayed and fidelity pledged, with tough-sounding, country-tinged, blues-infused gutter rock providing a spine.
  8. Jul 17, 2012
    60
    An honorable effort in what they do best.
  9. 60
    Handwritten houses some of Fallon's strongest compositions to date, and while it ain't punk, neither is The Gaslight Anthem.
  10. Jul 20, 2012
    60
    As long as sincerity still counts for something and melody remains king, we'll let these qualms lie and lap up a record that's chock-a-block with comfort food choruses.
  11. 83
    Their album is everything its title suggests: old-school, DIY, and so heartfelt, its emotions might as well be tattooed on its knuckles.
  12. Jul 24, 2012
    80
    Handwritten may not break any new ground for the band, but it's easily their strongest release yet.
  13. Aug 13, 2012
    80
    Handwritten is The Gaslight Anthem's finest and most authoritative album. [28 Jul 2012, p.52]
  14. Jul 24, 2012
    70
    Loud and big--stadium big, major-label big--and although it has soft patches, much of it hurtles forward with welcomed urgency. [No.89, p.58]
  15. Jul 19, 2012
    40
    It buries some strong writing, singing and potential. [Aug 2012, p.96]
  16. 80
    The result is a weighty collection of tunes that toughens up the band's predilection of a softly rendered, Cure-indebted jangle and nudges the harder edges of Green Day's stadium punk.
  17. Aug 2, 2012
    40
    After four albums of American girls, dirt roads and fingers in dust with the radio on, it's tough to overlook the clichés.
  18. Jul 24, 2012
    78
    Between the middle-of-the-metronome songs ("Keepsake"), mild bridges ("Handwritten") and ballads ("Mae" and "National Anthem"), the most riff-heavy, driving songs on Handwritten push the album from a good one to a great one.
  19. Jul 26, 2012
    57
    If in the past [Fallon] managed to transform similar icons [Ginsberg, Van Morrison] into a communal mythology, here it too often sounds like regurgitation, as though the reference were an end in itself.
  20. Jul 24, 2012
    60
    In going from name (or lyric) checking their favorite bands to trying to actually sound like them, the Gaslight Anthem might have blurred the crucial line between inspiration and identity. None of this is to say that Handwritten isn't an often enjoyable, occasionally brilliant album, cause it assuredly is that.
  21. Aug 1, 2012
    60
    Handwritten is pure New Jersey rock, dripping urban romanticism, albeit with extra oomph on the power chords. [Aug 2012, p.105]
  22. Jul 19, 2012
    70
    Handwritten is Gaslight's biggest-sounding, most straightforward album. The hints of Motown and dub are gone, but superproducer Brendan O'Brien supplies bite and gleam.
  23. Jul 26, 2012
    40
    As a lyricist, Fallon has moved beyond bald cliché to bland commonplace.
  24. Jul 30, 2012
    80
    It doesn't quite spike with the sharp edges of old, but the passion is in a more intelligent place, and it's a place worth returning to with at least the same frequency as those hospital walls.
  25. Jul 24, 2012
    83
    On Handwritten, his lyrics have finally settled into a perfect spot between craft and catharsis. And the music isn't far behind.
  26. Jul 17, 2012
    75
    With one foot rooted in the past, the band is yet pushing forward, with an album that promises longevity and, maybe, greatness.
  27. Jul 19, 2012
    60
    Their fourth album never steps out of the shadows of their heroes, and may not take them where they want to be.
  28. Jul 23, 2012
    40
    Gaslight seem so hellbent on heroics, they often end up more Bon Jovi than Boss [Springsteen].
  29. Jul 23, 2012
    90
    The lyrics are a little more personal, the band a little more developed - it seems that this is the start of a new and exciting chapter for The Gaslight Anthem.
  30. Jul 10, 2012
    70
    For all the fine furies collected on Handwritten, the most memorable moments are those on which The Gaslight Anthem shift to lower gears. [Aug 2012, p.66]
  31. Jul 24, 2012
    40
    It seems about 10 years out of date, and releasing it whilst Springsteen is mid-tour only serves to heighten their aura of lightweight superfluousness.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 28 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Jan 5, 2014
    8
    New Jersey's Springsteen worshippers produce a solid if slightly unadventurous rock album. As you listen through the record, it's clear that plenty of time went into the writing and structuring of the songs. The production of the record is well suited to the sound of the band and the band themselves do a good job when delivering the material. For me, the album's two strongest songs are found at the beginning and end of the record in "45" and "National Anthem", with "Too Much Blood" providing another highlight in the centre of the record. For the rest of the album the band are consistently good without ever getting the creative juices fully going. I like the record but am a little confused by it I'm not sure if the production makes the band sound better than they actually are. They sound the part and you get the feeling that these guys do have a really great record in them but on repeated listens to this it lacks a little substance. Still enjoyable though. Full Review »
  2. Sep 17, 2013
    7
    The Gaslight Anthem's weakest album to date still delivers some really awesome tracks with a high repeatability. It's not their best, but it'll certainly do for now. Full Review »
  3. Jul 26, 2013
    10
    This is simply put an absolutely tremendous album. Brian Fallon's lyrics and vocals continue to be very impressive with neat guitar work woven in to the songs without overpowering the other instruments. Favourite songs on the album are: Mae, Handwritten, Desire and Mulholland. I recommend getting the bonus track Blue Dahlia as I can't believe it has only been released on the bonus album. Full Review »