Gravity Fails

Disc 2 Track 2

If The Brooklyn Side is essentially The Bottle Rockets with somewhat better production values, the pattern holds here. Contemplative acoustic opener gives way to big electric bar-band rocker (just a touch more polished this time).

“Gravity Fails” (note that Spotify misnames the song as “Gravity Falls,” which I’ll take as emblematic of the general way the Bottle Rockets don’t get the respect they deserve) is not a great song, in the sense that it doesn’t have anything profound to say about the human condition, but it’s a lot of fun and it rocks the house. As is often the case, the Bottle Rockets are here to examine the mind of a man trapped by his own desire to wander. It doesn’t quite have the chainsaw guitar of “Gas Girl,” its counterpart on the first album, but it’s got a driving beat and Henneman sells a lot of very convincing urgency with his voice. You know you’re an expert as using your voice to its full effect when you can deliver

Baby I’m saying please, please, please
Down on my baby blue blue jeans
Maybe it’s something in my genes
Maybe it’s something in my jeans

and have it land. A quatrain like that could be dire in the hands of a novice, but that last line still brings a surprised smile to my face every time I hear it, after nearly 30 years of listening to this album.

Uncharacteristically, it opens with an instrumental riff that the song returns to periodically, establishing the mood of minor-key urgency that dominates; there’s a tension between this and the bright major-key shimmer of Henneman’s guitar solo in the middle. I’m not sure exactly what the thought process behind this must have been, but it gives the song texture.

Again, not one of the great songs of all time, but a really enjoyable little gem showing how fun the Bottle Rockets could be in their standard Best Possible Bar Band mode.

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