Brian's talked a lot about creating an album that's different - or weird - but still sounds like a Gaslight Anthem album. I wanted to get people's thoughts: In your eyes, have they already done that? Is there a record that stands out to you as totally (or mostly) distinct from the others? Have they already released their "weird" record?
To me, their records sound different or have their own sort of signature, with, for the most part, the same types of songs done a little differently. Sink or Swim was fast, with deep, rough vocals; T59S was more open chords, not as heavy, but still fast, with much smoother vocals; and Handwritten had Brian belting out his top-of-the-head vocals...
I left American Slang out on purpose, because that to me is their weird one. Whenever I hear Brian talk about doing a different-and-a-little-weird-TGA thing, in my head I'm always like, "You did that already! Don't you remember that album you never seem to look back fondly on?" I don't think he realizes it yet, because not enough time has passed. (He always talks about that one Pearl Jam record that people were apprehensive and a little "eh" about, then years later everybody loves it. I think that's AS.)
The detractors for American Slang said that it sounded like T59S b-sides, but I never understood that, with the exception of some parts and most of Alex R's guitar lines. But if you go through the songs on that album, there were some totally weird ones, by Gaslight standards, anyway (and a couple just in general). I think the album itself has a unique quality to it among TGA records, but these are the tracks that stand out to me as either "weird" or "different" by TGA standards in terms of structure, style, and/or arrangement:
Bring It On - IMO, more versatile than any Gaslight song to that point. It took their basic structure and loosened it up - small chord changes during the verses, an extended second chorus that sort of acted as a bridge (not to mention actual bridge that stopped the song in it's tracks, then picked it back up again)
Diamond Church Street Choir - not "weird" by any means, but I was totally taken back - I'd never heard TGA like this, and never thought I would
Queen of Lower Chelsea - muted plucking, Clash-esque riff, a rhythm we hadn't really heard from them, and that breakdown in the outro, man.
Old Haunts - the verses really, more so than the chorus: the rhythm-riff, the vocal line, the whole arrangement.
We Did It When We Were Young - You've heard it. You know. The first time I listened to it, I was like, what the fuck was that?
Other albums have their one "weird" song (Angry Johnny, Cowgirls, Biloxi Parish), but American Slang has arguably half an album of those. As for the other songs, they share enough with other Gaslight songs that I wouldn't call them "out there" really, but I do think the presentation in general on American Slang was pretty different from other records. Maybe that had to do with the whole "no open chords, just guitar parts" thing that Ted Hutt pushed.
But, hey, that's just me. What do you think? What are your weird Gaslight works?