July 12, 2012


5 Reasons to Celebrate the Wallflowers' Return

James Minchin
James Minchin

Guess what? After a seven-year hiatus, the Wallflowers are returning on October 2 with Glad All Over, their much-anticipated (right here!) sixth album. I know, I know, you probably think the Wallflowers are two-hit wonders from Bob Dylan's dreamy son (that'd be frontman Jakob Dylan). But, like my Third Eye Blind obsession, I have a special place in my musical canon for the Wallflowers. I mean, what's better than drunkenly singing "One Headlight" with a bunch of your best pals while driving home from the bar (there was a DD!) in Bellingham, WA? Nothing. Don't deny it.

And now I bring you the five reasons why you should be thrilled for the Wallflowers' return...

Because... Mick Jones of the Clash"Reboot The Mission," the new album's first single, is described as a "Clash-inspired track." Sure, that's from a press release, but there's some truth to that statement: The Clash's Mick Jones guests on vocals and guitar. WHAT!? How awesome is that? The song arrives as a free download on July 24. Get it at www.thewallflowers.com

Because Jakob Dylan Is Not Bob Dylan: Jakob tried his hands at dad's folky, singer-songwriter craft on his last solo album, 2010's Women + Country, and, truth be told, it wasn't really all that great (read my review at SPIN). Dude's gift is in tightly-wound pop-rock radio rulers, and the Wallflowers are the perfect vehicle for that.

Because the Lineup Is Rad: The original lineup is back for the new album, including Rami Jaffee, the keyboardist who has been joining Foo Fighters on tour. Rounding out the lineup is drummer Jack Irons, best known as the former drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. All-stars.

Because in a Music World Obsessed With Evolving, the Wallflowers Have a Signature Sound: Sure, on Glad All Over they're working with the Clash's Jones, but you can bet they'll never release an electronic or punk record. From their self-titled debut to Bringing Down the Horse to their last LP, 2005's Rebel, Sweetheart (and its underrated singles "The Beautiful Side of Somewhere" and "God Says Nothing Back"), Jakob Dylan and co. have reliably offered up well-crafted songs with gentle, memorable hooks and melody. My money says Glad All Over will be hum-worthy from front to back. 

Because Bringing Down the Horse is One of the Best Albums of the '90s: When was the last time you heard "6th Avenue Heartache"? Whenever it was (even if you JUST played it), it's definitely been too long. Do songs get more effortless, direct and catchy? I love listening to this song while walking downtown on Sixth Avenue after work. I'm that dork. And the album is solid all the way through. "One Headlight"? Already discussed it, but it's clearly a classic—that bass line! That guitar riff! That vocal cadence! There's also "Three Marlenas," "The Difference" and more. If you don't own it, get with the program. Like, now.