Glitter in the Gutter
First Appeared in The Music Box, April 2007, Volume 14, #4
Written by John Metzger
Former D Generation front man Jesse Malin turned to a few rather high-profile friends for help in concocting his third solo endeavor Glitter in the Gutter. Ryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, Jakob Dylan, and Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme all rallied to his cause. Based upon the guests alone, it’s not a terribly difficult task to determine down which path Malin opted to tread, and not surprisingly, the guitars clatter, chug, hoot, and holler as they exuberantly spread their youthful angst across his roots-rock drawl. Throughout the set, Malin fashions tales of a troubled world and its weary, brokenhearted occupants, though he also views the power of rock ’n‘ roll as the saving grace of all. Granted, his lyrics never quite achieve the cinematic, street-poet magnificence for which he strives, but the hard-hitting and ingratiatingly infectious music that surrounds his words more than makes up for his deficiencies. Hitting upon all of the right touchstones, he threads The Jayhawks through the southern California-bred pop of Fleetwood Mac on Don’t Let Them Take You Down (Beautiful Day!), revs up Tomorrow Tonight with a Bo Diddley beat, and cops from Van Morrison by way of Counting Crows on Black Haired Girl. Even when he softens his style — which has been the Achilles’ heel of many like-minded endeavors — he comes out on top. Mixing his sorrow with an ample amount of grit, he delivers a sterling cover of Paul Westerberg’s Bastards of Young and affectingly duets with Springsteen on Broken Radio. Although Malin’s approach is hardly groundbreaking, his execution is impeccable, and as a result, Glitter in the Gutter is destined to be the breakthrough that he has been seeking since stepping out on his own. ˝
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2007 The Music Box