It's a credit to Brian Fallon that he doesn't need to radically adjust his style to remain charming and listenable. On five LPs with The Gaslight Anthem, two solo records, and one as the leader of The Horrible Crowes, he's stayed roughly on the same path: ploughing through heartbreak, drawing inspiration from sepia-toned Americana, and (yeah) channelling Springsteen. It should be easy to criticise his work as cliched and out-of-touch, but get a few chords into just about anything he's touched and it becomes difficult not to get dragged in to the hopeless romance of it all.
Fallon returned on Friday (27 October) with the announcement of a new album, Sleepwalkers, due out February 9, and a new single, "Forget Me Not." It ticks every box! Take the first line, which starts out with an excitable scream:
Stacy, I'd like to take you to a movie.
Okay, so he's not calling every girl "Maria" anymore, but we still get the song's love interest referred to by name straight away. Then there's the old-fashioned innocence of a trip to the pictures, expressed as a bashful desire. How can you not root for this guy? When Springsteen sang that about that trip from "your front porch to my front seat," disinterested in a backseat romp, Brian Fallon must've seen his entire love life stretch out in front of him.
It's not all smiles – Fallon spends the rest of the song asking Stacey what she'd do if he died. "[When I wrote this track], I was thinking how every song doesn't have to be so serious," the 37-year-old said in a statement. "It can just be fun. It can just be a song that I would want to play live. 'Forgot Me Not' came out in just a couple of minutes and actually ended up being pretty serious – it seems my subconscious had other plans."
Go listen to "Forget Me Not" at the top of this page, then write a heartfelt letter to your best gal and/or guy.
Follow Alex Robert Ross on Twitter.