Flashback Friday to the old-school doo-wop and rock ‘n’ roll vibe of the 50’s with this week’s Reviving the Music Fan artist: What’s Eating Gilbert.
Started as a side project in 2009 by New Found Glory’s Chad Gilbert, What’s Eating Gilbert shines a more direct spotlight on the long-time guitarist and backing vocalist. Musical side-projects allow musicians to explore and purge the deepest bits of their soul while experimenting with a new sound, and Gilbert does just that.
Gilbert describes his sound as “a spin off the 50’s and 60’s power pop and old country I heard my parents playing around the house when I was growing up.”
Striking the balance between the simplicity of the 50’s doo-wop and the spunk of rock ‘n’ roll, these tunes are undeniably contagious. There’s something about these songs that make you want to wiggle your hips, snap your fingers and do the twist.
“I’ve Got You,” is my first impression and it surely reels me in. Almost certainly about his relationship with the red-haired vixen and Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams, Gilbert sasses critics as he proclaims, “They can hate on me all they want. Call me a user, say you’re too young, but in the end I’ve got you and they’ve got shit.”
Though the lyrics are enough to pique my interest, the most distinct element of the song is Gilbert’s guitar as the drums prance along. It starts off with some simple chords but steals the spotlight going into the second half of the song. The guitar mimics the the previous vocal melody of the chorus during an instrumental break as it is infused with a bluesy edge.
Continuing the sass but contradicting the lyrics with a cheery melody as a light triangle trickles throughout, “Complaining” adds to What’s Eating Gilbert’s appeal. This track conveys the message to quit complaining and move on as Gilbert’s hook repeats throughout the song. Soon enough you’ll be tapping your foot, nodding your head and singing “Complaining won’t get you anywhere/You’re just burning the ears of people that are near/What’s done is done so save your breath of air and go.”
Last but not least let’s talk about the upfront love-song “Babe” that kicks off with Gilbert’s sweet voice grazing the listener’s ears as he speaks the minds of all those lovestruck people in long-distance relationships. Exposing his insecurities as he sings “Babe, why do you act so strange/are you just playing games,” Gilbert manages to be vulnerable in a dignified manner. This track holds a more southern appeal with a kick-step rhythm and country feel flowing from start to finish as a woman’s voice complements Gilberts in the chorus.What’s Eating Gilbert is a sweet treat to those who are fans of anything reminiscent of a much simpler time in American music. If that is you, be sure to check them out when they open up for Yellowcard Thursday at The Catalyst on Jan. 16.
Choice Tracks:1.) Complaining
3.) I've Got You