brian fallon: "Painkillers" album review
Brian Fallon is one of my favorite singer/songwriters. He's right up there with Dylan and Springsteen. His work in The Gaslight Anthem, The Horrible Crowes and Molly and the Zombies truly showcase what a talent and gift Fallon has. Hell, Springsteen is one of Fallon's biggest fans. That kind of pressure can create a lot of high expectations and anticipation when it comes to anything he creates next. When The Gaslight Anthem went on hiatus last year, Fallon began piecing together the album I'm reviewing today.
"Painkillers" is Brian Fallon's debut solo record and should be listened to as such without the thought of his past work in your mindset. Master producer/musician Butch Walker didn't just helm the mixing board like a traditional producer. Walker contributed various instrumentation and background vocals and worked close with Fallon to create a collective work that stands on it's own merit, song-for-song.
Brian Fallon has his heart on his tattooed sleeves on each track from the album's opener "A Wonderful Life" to the acoustic/slide-guitar ballad "Honey Magnolia". Fallon doesn't half-ass lyrics. Themes of lost love, loneliness, hope and wanting to be Steve McQueen are on full display. "Smoke", "Steve McQueen" and "Among Other Foolish Things" are prime examples of this. "And they say such foolish things, like "love, love, love, love is all you need" but everything inside is saying 'danger, baby, love's gonna leave' so I played your sympathy. Have mercy on me cause I been hurt, I been stung, by the good name of love 'til I threw my own heart in the sea among other foolish things." Beautifully heartbreaking lyrics that we can all relate to.
Thankfully on "Painkillers" we are gifted with no filler songs. All 12 tracks are simply beautiful. Each note, guitar strum and vocal cord movement has soul and meaning behind it. "Nobody Wins" has been my favorite among the bunch for it's lyrical journey and catchy chorus. "Mojo Hand" shows a different side we haven't seen from Fallon before. The beat and tempo alone always have my head bobbing to the beat that is very mojo if I do say so myself.
Brian Fallon doesn't disappoint on "Painkillers" and exceeded all expectations I had for it. I knew it would be great record but he took that and amplified it and blew me away both heart and soul. "Painkillers" truly is a Brian Fallon record and is hands down one of my favorite albums released in 2016. I can't recommend this album enough!