Handwritten

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Handwritten Image
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71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics What's this?

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8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 36 Ratings

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  • Summary: The fourth album for the New Jersey rock band is its first on the Mercury Label and was produced by Brendan O'Brien.
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Top Track

Stitches
I thought that I've been hurt before But no one's ever left me quite this sore Your words cut deeper than a knife Now I need someone to breathe me... See the rest of the song lyrics
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. Alternative Press
    Jul 10, 2012
    90
    Thanks to the expert production of Brendan O'Brien, the record sounds goddamn phenomenal. [Aug 2012, p.83]
  3. Kerrang!
    Aug 13, 2012
    80
    Handwritten is The Gaslight Anthem's finest and most authoritative album. [28 Jul 2012, p.52]
  4. Uncut
    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]
  5. Magnet
    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]
  6. 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.
  7. Mojo
    Jul 19, 2012
    40
    It buries some strong writing, singing and potential. [Aug 2012, p.96]

See all 31 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Nov 5, 2015
    10
    The Gaslight Anthem have always been great at expressing themselves and getting to the bones of the nature of their music, utilizing forcefulThe Gaslight Anthem have always been great at expressing themselves and getting to the bones of the nature of their music, utilizing forceful guitar, heavy drums, and soulful vocals from frontman Brian Fallon. On their debut, "Sink or Swim", the band dips one footing in raw punk rock, while keeping another solely in the waters of Americana a la Tom Petty and, yes, Springsteen.

    Then came "The '59 Sound". This record improved on almost every front from its predecessor: it was more melodic, the songs contained more meaningful and personal lyrics, and it switched the genre up from "plain punk rock with a few acoustic songs" to hints of Soul, classic rock, and a streetwise shuffle ("Cassanova, Baby!").

    "American Slang" refined and brought the band's sound into the new millenium, marking the first Gaslight Anthem record to feel truly like a cohesive whole that sought to make one statement. Dabs of Motown ("The Diamond Church Street Choir") and soul ("The Queen of Lower Chelsea"), intermixed with the band's usual offering of Heart-On-Your-Tongue punk rock make up the album, topped off with the best closer the band has ever done, "We Did It When We Were Young."

    Throughout all these records, they have shown the true ability and mental capacity to capture what it is that makes music like this so great: spirit, heart, and driving chords. They've come so close to capturing true magic in the studio.

    But this record.

    This record is the culmination of everything they've tried to do, and producer Brendan O' Brien clearly sought to understand just what it is that makes this band tick before stepping into the recording booth. From the opening track, "45", the listener knows that he or she is in for a tour-de-force of emotion. Brian has never sounded better than on this track.

    Throughout hints of country blues on songs like "Keepsake" and "Biloxi Parish", to straight-up punk snippets like "Howl" and "Desire", the album keeps the listener's attention in place, and "Mae" make them cry, too. (I'm not apologizing for that.)

    The true highlight of the record, though, comes in the form of "Here Comes My Man". The opening guitars complement and work with each other so well, you might think they were destined to be together. The passion in Brian's vocals, paired with the melody and wide-open chorus provided by Alex Rosamalia and Brian, make a track so brilliant, so tear-glisteningly, so heart-breakingly beautiful, I would venture to call it one of the absolute best songs I, personally, have ever heard.

    Please. If you like rock n' roll, emotion, punk rock, or, hell, music in general, give this record a spin. It may be one of the best things you do this, or any, year.
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  2. Aug 26, 2012
    10
    Since The 59' Sound was released, I've been a die-hard Gaslight fan. They're a fantastic band that I could recommend to anyone (which I'veSince The 59' Sound was released, I've been a die-hard Gaslight fan. They're a fantastic band that I could recommend to anyone (which I've done already). Then American Slang came out and they went for a different sound. Not as great as The 59' Sound but nonetheless a great album. Now, we have Handwritten. An record that treads familiar ground from The 59' Sound, yet sounding completely fresh. The opener "45" is one of the best opener's to an album this year. It creates this high energy that really sets the mood for each track to come. Brian's lyrics have always been very deep and personal, and he writes just that on Handwritten. Every track has a deep message in it and if you're like me, you'll relate to what he's saying. That's what makes a Gaslight Anthem record a record to be cherished. It connects with it's listeners. All In All, The Gaslight Anthem have yet to fail, which will probably never happen. Brian's lyrics and the guitar work are fantastic. One of the best this year. A Expand
  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 wovenThis 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. Expand
  4. BKM
    Aug 1, 2012
    9
    Handwritten is a tremendous rock record and an improvement on their previous release, American Slang. The band wears their hearts as well asHandwritten is a tremendous rock record and an improvement on their previous release, American Slang. The band wears their hearts as well as their influences on their sleeve. The songs have the fire and passion of Springsteen and the raucous punk energy of The Replacements, but this is no mere tribute album. Handwritten is the work of a band coming into their own as true artists. Expand
  5. Aug 17, 2012
    9
    The Gaslight Anthem have wandered from Bruce Springsteen to the Clash, but with Handwritten they finally have given us something uniquelyThe Gaslight Anthem have wandered from Bruce Springsteen to the Clash, but with Handwritten they finally have given us something uniquely theirs. The record starts of with "45" and just rocks through the fourteen tracks with heart and the occasional poetic touch added for a almost perfect record. TGA is on its way to becoming as great as their influences. Expand
  6. Aug 12, 2012
    9
    Gassed Up

    Handwritten is another 'mature' Gaslight Anthem album much in the mold of 'American Slang.' It is tight, well recorded, and
    Gassed Up

    Handwritten is another 'mature' Gaslight Anthem album much in the mold of 'American Slang.' It is tight, well recorded, and sounds very much like a continuation of this record with a few, not so helpful, additions.

    Brendan O'Brien - who did so much to wreck Springsteen's recent output, is at the controls. Fallon seems to like him, but I sure don't. He makes Fallon's voice sound forced on nearly every track, and the vocals lack the colour and subtlety achieved on '59 Sound' and 'American Slang'. The band is still tight as a drum, but not as imaginative as on the previous two records. Also, Fallon is now very much the 'writer' and his self consciousness grates a bit.

    That being said, the Gaslight are just full of energy, ideas, songs and sheer balls to blow away most bands. I particularly like 45, Mulholland Drive, Too Much Blood, Handwritten, etc. The covers at the end of the deluxe are good, but not essential except for fans.

    They are a great live band, and are playing the UK behind this in the autumn. Very well worth seeing.
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  7. Oct 4, 2012
    7
    I really enjoy their style, albeit some of the songs seemed lackadaisical to me. But predominanting are the guitar riffs, which truly rock!I really enjoy their style, albeit some of the songs seemed lackadaisical to me. But predominanting are the guitar riffs, which truly rock! Then there are nice lyrics and 11 (buy the deluxe version with three extra songs, which are great!) diversified songs. Altogether that makes an enjoyable LP from a band I'm happy to have discovered. Expand

See all 11 User Reviews