A Wonderful Life
Label: Island Records
Painkillers may spotlight The Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon on his own and trading his electric guitar for acoustic, but the singer/songwriter’s favorite themes remain steadfast. Fallon sings for life’s beautiful losers and ragged down-and-outers, the hapless lot among which he has always counted himself, and the E Street-flavored “A Wonderful Life” announces this with anthemic pride. On the twangy “Smoke” he turns harrowing as he delivers a portrait of an artist who is no stranger to broken-hearted regret. But no matter how hard life’s blows get, Fallon transforms them into moving stories like “Rosemary” and “Among Other Foolish Things,” in which it’s impossible not to fall in love with his sympathetically rendered characters.