Let’s set at least one thing straight: Gaslight Anthem’s “American Slang” is one of the best new rock records this year, and its title track one of the best rock songs. Even after my initial review of the track it’s grown on me tenfold; it’s satisfyingly hyperbolic, anthemic and sets a good pace for running.
That being said… the new music video? Kinda meh.
Shot in black and white, it follows the quartet through Manhattan and Brooklyn, their pretty mugs alternating between looking morose and bored (though there is one darling shot of frontman Brian Fallon cracking up). We see a church steeple, some urban decay, live concert footage and homeless people. There’s flitting looks at Wall Street and the Lower East Side’s Allen Street. It’s a sleepy homage to the city that never sleeps.
It wouldn’t be fair to say Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” did this, only better, because Jay-Z has a gajillion dollars. However, it’d be nice if shooter Kevin Custer allowed the camera to linger on images of intrigue and meaning, rather than, like, “Look at this broken telephone. Then look at it in a second shot. So cool.”
Curious that this squarely New Jersey-heralding group set its sites on New York for its first video, but then again, there’s nine other tracks to take to New Brunswick.