I knew that I wanted to play the bass the MOMENT I heard Krist Novaselic's bass solo in "Lithium." Not only did I know this for a fact but I was CERTAIN that not only would I learn to play this sweet solo but that it would get me SO MANY girls.* Sure, in the 15 years since I had this epiphany, I have been proven wrong on several accounts. I would in fact not learn to play the bass nor did I bag the amount of girls I hoped I would (to be fair joining the football team didn't work a year later for this either). Despite this colossal failure, I hope that somewhere in America right now some pimply, overweight, malcontent is hearing "Old White Lincoln" by the Gaslight Anthem and coming to a similar conclusion about the romantic powers of the bass. The nine second bass intro to this song is the first great chapter of a pretty close to perfect pop song by these Jersey punk rockers (is there any other kind?).
I've heard the criticisms heaped upon this band for simply ripping off Springsteen, and the marked musical similarities along with the Jersey obsession between Gaslight's album The '59 Sound and The Boss are tough to dispute, but I think that these guys and particularly this song avoid plagiarism and tread that fine line by staying solidly in homage territory. Much like the fantastic work of 2006's "When You Were Young" by the Killers, this song seems to isolate the joyous wrecklessness of modern youth frittering their lives away with insignificant drama. From the rich imagery of lighting a cigarette on a parking meter to the romance of the opening line, "If I could write, I'd tell you how much I miss these nights," Old White Lincoln just FEELS good in that quaint insignificance of small town life manner that artists like Springsteen and Alan Jackson capture so well
*Because let's face it, who did 7th grade girls love more in 1994 than Krist Novaselic... oh wait... everyone.