The arrival of Glitter In The Gutter, the first new recorded music from Jesse Malin since 2004's The Heat, has been a much anticipated event around The Tripwire offices. We have been following the career of this veteran Brooklynite since we fell in love with his Ryan Adams-produced, extremely good debut album, The Fine Art Of Self Destruction, back in 2003. The acoustic-leaning, heartfelt introspective effort had an urban folk energy that seemed to, quite beautifully, capture the vibrant and gritty reality of life in post 9/11 New York City through the eyes of an aging ex-punk struggling to find his own sense of worth amid all the confusion.
For Glitter In The Gutter, Malin once again enlisted the help of his long time friend Ryan Adams, but he didn't stop there. A full fledged army of big named admirers stepped up to help Jesse with his latest masterpiece, including Jacob Dylan, Chris Shiflett (Foo Fighters), Josh Homme (Queens Of The Stone Age), and even... The Boss. Yep, Mr. Springsteen himself offered his services. With the exception of Springsteen, these guest appearances are limited to background vocals and instrumental contributions, so they thankfully don't overshadow Malin's compositions.
Overall, the record is what we've come to expect from Jesse - great songwriting, gravely vocals, well structured, memorable melodies and great guitars - but Glitter is more polished than I expected. It has a "large recording budget" sound and extremely tight, flawless instrumentation throughout that can get a bit distracting on the up-tempo rock songs. It's on the slow, piano ballads that the Jesse Malin we've come to love really shines through. "Broken Radio" (with the Boss), "Bastards Of Young" and "Aftermath," the three down-tempo tracks on the album, give Malin a chance to shine. While he might be gunning for a more mature, AAA-leaning audience with this release (not necessarily a bad thing), Glitter In The Gutter will have no problem making its way to the "most played" playlists of his loyal followers. The album won't hit shelves until March 20, but the good news is that you can pick up a download-only EP with two cuts from Glitter from iTunes right now.
"Black Haired Girl" Stream