Flipping the Record
by Geoffrey Himes
What do we mean when say a rock ’n’ roll song is fast? Are we talking about the tempo or something else? After all, songs such as Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven,” the Rolling Stones’ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and Hüsker Dü’s “Makes No Sense at All” have no more beats per minute than many songs that don’t seem nearly as fast or thrilling. What gives those tracks their pell-mell, unstoppable momentum?
Listen, for example, to “45,” the first single and lead-off track on The Gaslight Anthem’s new album, Handwritten. It begins low and crunchy with Brian Fallon’s two-bar guitar riff, which is soon bolstered by Alex...