Jesse Malin - Glitter in the Gutter
Record Label: Adeline Records
Release Date: March 20, 2007
With each passing year, the cult of Jesse Malin grows larger. His latest stalker is none other than Bruce Springsteen, who worked with the Brooklyn-based songwriter on his latest disc Glitter in the Gutter. Also on board for the album were trusty sidekick Ryan Adams, Jakob Dylan, Josh Homme, and Chris Shillett. You would think with such revered musicians helping the artistic process, that the album would stand to be the apex of Malin’s career. But that is not true.
Glitter in the Gutter falls mightily. Each song is analogous to the other and few, save for "Radio Nowhere," in which Springsteen contributes backing vocals, are worth a second listen. The most disappointing aspect of Malin’s new disc is he seems to have lost the country twinge he displayed so effectively on his major label debut The Fine Art of Self-Destruction. His follow-up to that album The Heat, seemed to move in the direction of power-pop and modern rock, but it was done with effect and promise. It also marked his best work to date.
One would hope Glitter in the Gutter would follow through with that same momentum. Though his lyrics are top-notch (isn’t that always the case with him?), the songs all use the same jangly movement that straddles the line somewhere between The Replacements and Gin Blossoms. It sounds sloppy and ill-prepared, as if he put the album together in a week’s time without too much thought. It all ends up somewhat boring and watered-down. The mystery remains, how did such an incredible talent, with such talented friends and such a talented discography, screw up so poorly? The answer remains enigmatic and probably always will be. Thankfully, his latest release, On Your Sleeve is a step forward.