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A forum dedicated to The Gaslight Anthem - Brian Fallon says: ''For consistent and up to the minute stuff, Dimestore Saints is a great place to check out and hang with some really nice people.''
 
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 Italian Lightning

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IrishNameAndAnInjury
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ral
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Ivefoundgod
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Ivefoundgod
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PostSubject: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeTue Aug 18, 2009 9:39 pm

Hey everyone, new to this place and didn't see anyone trying to decipher one of my fave new songs. Here's what I think the lyrics are(along with parts im not sure or plain just don't know highlighted in red), corrections would be much appreciated.

Also on this link: http://elbo.ws/post/1437841/brian-fallon-quotthe-blues-maryquot-quotitalian-lightningquot/ it says that Brian posted the lyrics and the inspiration for this song on his blog but I couldn't find it so it'd be great if someone could point me in the right direction cos' I'm dyin to know the meaning behind the "Italian Lightning" part.

ITALIAN LIGHTNING

The central boys landed safely
In the arms of the Irish girls
While the hometown lots ready their nooses and their knots
Hang their preconceptions on
While the political lions and tigers and bears
Decided which of the cubs they’d be crucifying
And who’ll take the fall at the end of it all
They’ll just say it was Italian lightning


Now Mary she wakes up achin’
From them long nights with the fashionistas
Who were deadly as strangers and lovely as angels
And always just dyin’ to meet ya
My country what have you done to your girls?
The devil at the details or something a bit more exciting
And you can find them at the mirrors and on the weights of the scales
Blame it all on Italian lightning


Now me I just stick to the boardwalk
Driving up and down these Avenues
I found some work on LaRainne
Thanks to little Irish Grace
I was hard up and home for the season
I was walkin last night with Miss Mary
We saw the flames shootin right out of them buildings
Maybe it was time, maybe it was despair
That got up in the soul of that city


Since the ferris wheels don’t spin and the casinos cavin’ in
Maybe she never healed from the riots or the fightin
But I heard ya, Wiggs, qoutin' Davish sayin
“Maybe it was just Italian lightning, probably Italian
lightning”


It reminds me, as regards theme anyway, of Blame It on The Tetons by Modest Mouse. The "Blame it all on Italian lightning" parts seems like he's saying nobody will accept responsibility for their actions so they just blame it on something abitrary and meaningless, like Italian lightning. Not sure about it, just guessing. The second verse seems to me he's angry about how girls have become obsessed about their image and how you can see the result of this in "the weights of the scales".

Anyway enough of my rambling, love to hear what you guys think. Love the site everyone!


Last edited by Ivefoundgod on Thu Aug 20, 2009 7:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jukebox Romeo
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PostSubject: Re: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeWed Aug 19, 2009 1:06 am

yeah, he posted the lyrics awhile ago, but it's been taken down. as for the meaning of the song, he didn't say much. it was something along the lines of "Last night I watched a building burn down in Asbury Park. Kinda summed up the whole city."
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PostSubject: Re: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeWed Aug 19, 2009 5:18 pm

Can't help with the meaning I'm afraid, but reading Brian's lyrics transcribed is sometimes as enjoyable as listening to him sing them.
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Ivefoundgod
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PostSubject: Re: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeWed Aug 19, 2009 8:59 pm

Thanks anyway, any idea if the bits I highlighted in red are right?
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ral
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PostSubject: Re: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeThu Aug 20, 2009 1:21 am

most is pretty close but here are a couple of fixes.

The central boys landed safely
...
While the hometown lots ready their nooses and their knots
...
Now Mary she wakes up vacant,
...
I found work on LaRainne (maybe Lareine, there's a street named that near the Jersey shore)
...
We saw the flames shooting right out of them buildings
Maybe it was time, maybe it was despair
that got up in the soul of that city,
...
But I heard ya, Wiggs, quotin' Davish, saying...
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thecosmickid
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PostSubject: Re: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeThu Aug 20, 2009 12:55 pm

Is that another one of his solo songs?
I loved the blues, Mary so I'd be really happy if someone could link a download(if there is one).
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Jukebox Romeo
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PostSubject: Re: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeThu Aug 20, 2009 2:05 pm

here ya go
Code:
Brian Fallon - Italian Lightning - http://www.mediafire.com/?y1rlznim1jm
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thecosmickid
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PostSubject: Re: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeThu Aug 20, 2009 2:14 pm

Thanks a lot!
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thecosmickid
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PostSubject: Re: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeThu Aug 20, 2009 3:21 pm

Do you consider any Gaslight song politic?
I don't, but this one feels a little politic yeah?
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PostSubject: Re: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeThu Aug 20, 2009 6:19 pm

I don't think any Gaslight song is political. Of course I may be wrong, but Brian Fallon doesn't really strike me as a guy who'd write about politics.
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thecosmickid
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PostSubject: Re: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeThu Aug 20, 2009 7:18 pm

No I don't think so either but this song has politics in the poetry somehow, at least that's what I think but maybe I'm alone on that?
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Ivefoundgod
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PostSubject: Re: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeThu Aug 20, 2009 7:46 pm

Thanks for the corrections ral.

I'd agree that this song is somewhat political but to me it's more about how everyone is responsible for the bad things that happen, not just the government or some political party. The song is like a lament for how things used to be.
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jokerman316
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PostSubject: Re: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeWed Jan 20, 2010 4:07 pm

ivefoundgod's obsession with modest mouse is frightening , but hes probably fairly correct i tink, great song.
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colmillionaire
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PostSubject: Re: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeWed Jan 20, 2010 4:43 pm

nothing is frightening about a modest mouse obsession, band is ace.
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http://www.last.fm/user/Colmillionaire
jokerman316
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PostSubject: Re: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeThu Jan 21, 2010 6:06 pm

if you knew him you wud understand me.
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Melancholy_Johnny
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PostSubject: Arson   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeThu Nov 18, 2010 4:34 am

Long-time lurker, first-time poster. Great forum.

I've got family from South Hackensack and they tell me Italian Lightning is arson done by the mob. I can't say how exactly it relates to the rest of the song other than a vague enemy or fear on which to place blame when evidence can't point to fault. With names like Wiggs and Davish (which turned up no definitive google results other than perhaps a realtor in Ocean City, NJ) I definitely think a local could explain more, but it sounds like he's calling people in charge as complicit in the destruction--of both morals and property--as any nefarious schemers.
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Daire
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PostSubject: Re: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeThu Nov 18, 2010 7:53 am

Wiggs is more than likely Wiggs from BigWig printing. A NJ company who print band tshirts, I think the Bouncing Souls use them, and maybe Gaslight did for a while too.
There's a line about them in The Patient Ferris Wheel.
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steady now steady now
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PostSubject: Re: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeThu Nov 18, 2010 10:06 am

Melancholy_Johnny wrote:
I've got family from South Hackensack and they tell me Italian Lightning is arson done by the mob. I can't say how exactly it relates to the rest of the song other than a vague enemy or fear on which to place blame when evidence can't point to fault. With names like Wiggs and Davish (which turned up no definitive google results other than perhaps a realtor in Ocean City, NJ) I definitely think a local could explain more, but it sounds like he's calling people in charge as complicit in the destruction--of both morals and property--as any nefarious schemers.

I gather that 'Italian Lightning' is a term for burning down abandoned buildings for insurance money; it seems the mob doesn't have to be involved, though that's where the term would appear to have come from initially.
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PostSubject: Re: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeWed Dec 01, 2010 1:04 am

Brian mentions the Irish and Italians who seem to be in a conflict with "political lions and tigers and bears", which may have something to do with the old working-class immigrant ghettos. Thee neighborhoods lasted up until even the 1970's in NJ, NY, and parts of NE and were often fighting with the established authorities when it came to protecting the mob.

The ferris wheel and casino line may be about the decline of the old industrial towns, the amusement parks are abandoned and even the mob-run casinos are closing up. Then you resort to "Italian lightning" to get what you can out of a vacant building.

Just my take on it, its a beautiful song. I wanna see some kind of acoustic EP in the near future.
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Labhras
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PostSubject: Re: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeMon Nov 14, 2011 5:55 pm

chords anyone?
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Labhras
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PostSubject: Re: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeMon Nov 14, 2011 5:58 pm

never mind i found em!
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Jerseyrain
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PostSubject: Re: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeTue Nov 15, 2011 11:17 am

EdenBurnedAgainstTheStars wrote:


The ferris wheel and casino line may be about the decline of the old industrial towns, the amusement parks are abandoned and even the mob-run casinos are closing up. Then you resort to "Italian lightning" to get what you can out of a vacant building..

I would say the ferris wheels don't spin and the Casinos caving in, guess she never healed from the riots or the fighting is all about Asbury Park.
The ferris wheel is gone, the Casino is derelict and Asbury Park had riots which I think were race related and that pretty much ended its status as popular beach resort for a while and it is a lot quieter and defunct now and hasn't really built back up or 'healed' as Brian says.

Since the song was written though work is going on buildings such as the Casino, certain modifications and refurbishments are going on and I may be wrong but more recently Im sure Ive read that more people are beginning to visit asbury Park again, just not as much in the past. Some New jersey based Dimestore saints may be able to correct me or add more to that but Im 99.9% certain that my analysis of those lyrics is correct.

A great little song, would be nice to hear it recorded again now in a full studio as Im guessing he recorded the original on his own using his own software.
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PostSubject: Re: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeThu May 31, 2012 11:46 pm

Sorry for reviving such a long-dead thread, but Italian Lightning is one of my favorite Brian songs and it's a shame it's not more popular.
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IrishNameAndAnInjury
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PostSubject: Re: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeFri Jun 01, 2012 8:12 am

MattL wrote:
Sorry for reviving such a long-dead thread, but Italian Lightning is one of my favorite Brian songs and it's a shame it's not more popular.

I'm glad you revived this thread! I think Italian Lightning is brilliant. There are so many great lines, at times it kind of reminds me of something Bob Dylan could have written. These are some of my favorite parts:

While the hometown lots ready their nooses and their knots
Hang their preconceptions on

Now Mary she wakes up vacant
From them long nights with the fashionistas
Who were deadly as strangers and lovely as angels
And always just dyin’ to meet ya

Since the ferris wheels don’t spin and the casinos cavin’ in
Maybe she never healed from the riots or the fightin'


So beautiful!


Last edited by IrishNameAndAnInjury on Sat Jun 02, 2012 11:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitimeSat Jun 02, 2012 8:54 pm

It's such a wonderful song, and it's unfortunately underrated. I really want Brian to revive the song, along with some of his older folk efforts like The Blues, Mary, but he seems completely against it.
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PostSubject: Re: Italian Lightning   Italian Lightning Icon_minitime

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