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New York Before the War

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Album Review

On his solo albums, Jesse Malin sometimes sounds like he's struggling a bit, holding his rock & roll instincts in check as he delivers his more contemplative and introspective material. But Malin has given himself a bit more room to grant both sides of his musical personality their due on 2015's New York Before the War. The opening track "The Dreamers" is certainly the work of Serious Jesse, with its moody, middle-of-the-night piano and the distant, overheard chatter of electric guitars, but once "Addicted" kicks in, Malin loosens up a bit, with a thick acoustic guitar squaring off against sharp electric fills as he sings about the joy and pains of love gone wrong. Then Malin segues into the rowdy Stones-flavored swagger of "Turn Up the Mains," and if this (and what follows) is a longer way from D Generation than his previous albums, New York Before the War lets Malin combine the maturity of his more poetic material with the liberating energy of a good rock & roll tune, and he does both things admirably well here. "She's So Dangerous" and "Bar Life" are low-key and effective portraits of lost souls, and "The Year That I Was Born" and "Bent Up" are rootsy rockers with a heartfelt barroom feel, but it's when Malin and his crew turn up the amps on "Freeway" and "Oh Sheena" that he sounds the freest, and just as smart as he is on his "serious" numbers but with a tough edge that speaks to the heart, the soul, and the brain. New York Before the War isn't quite a full-on rock & roll album, but it comes close enough that Malin has more space to move around than on his more subdued solo works, and he sounds energized and eloquent on these 13 tunes.

Customer Reviews

Best Kept Secret?

I'll never understand why Jesse Malin is not more popular, in my opinion he is one of the best songwriters of this generation. When I listen to him I hear a little bit from some of my favourite artists....Springsteen, Neil Young, Ramones and many more. To this day he has never released a song I haven't liked and he is the only artist I can say this about, I would highly recommend checking him out and if you get the chance to go and see him live, then do so.

Addicted - the only song available at the time of review is classic Jesse, melodic, catchy and a tale of everyday life.

He played some of the other songs on his recent UK tour and they all sound great, especially The Dreamers.

Is Jesse Malin the music industries best kept secret. I believe so!


As usual a top dollar performance from Jesse Malin....


Born: 26 January 1968 in Queens, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Jesse Malin is a songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist who has more than one musical personality, having made a name as a thoughtful and introspective singer/songwriter in his solo career as well as playing raucous, over the top rock & roll with the band D Generation, though heartfelt and street-smart songwriting is the common element in all of Malin's work. Born January 26, 1968 in Queens, New York, Malin was just 12 years old when he joined his first band, handling vocals and guitar for the New...
Full bio
New York Before the War, Jesse Malin
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Customer Ratings