Music Review: ‘Painkillers’ by Brian Fallon
Heartbreak unfortunately is something that everyone will have to deal with at some point. Brian Fallon knows this better than most people. He was most well known as the lead singer of the band The Gaslight Anthem. They made a name for themselves as a popular rock band with albums such as “Get Hurt” and “American Slang.” Prior to the recording of the last Gaslight Anthem album, Fallon and his wife of ten years filed for divorce. This period of sadness proved to be incredibly fruitful in creativity for Fallon. He wrote the songs that would make up the Painkillers album during the recording of Get Hurt. He wrote over a dozen songs for the album, but realized soon that the new material was going in a different direction creatively than where the band was going. Fallon decided to make a solo album to deal with his feelings about his divorce.
The album starts with a bang with the track “A Wonderful Life.” A raucous drum beat opens the song and carries it throughout. The track talks about the dream that Fallon had for a happy and fulfilling life. Things take a somber turn with the next song, “Painkillers.” This song opens with an acoustic guitar part that conveys a sense of sorrow and longing. The song describes dating other people and forming other relationships as painkillers, to try to get over a powerful love and driving force in his life. Fallon then goes into a very pop-type place with his next song, “Among Other Foolish Things.” This starts with an upbeat guitar part that guides the song without overpowering it. Fallon thinks about how his entire life had been built on trying to find the love of his life, and now he felt duped and lied to. But he displays this in such a positive way that it is almost hard to find the nastiness in his lyrics. Later in the album Fallon takes on the persona of a woman who has recently gotten out of a long relationship in “Honey Magnolia.” The unnamed woman in the song has to deal with all the longing and pain that goes with being single after having been with someone for a long time, and the pain of trying to find herself.
This album was made by a heartbroken man for other heartbroken people — to feel, love, and move on together. The strong feelings that this album deals with are immense, broad and painful, and it feels like Brian Fallon is right there with you.