ALBUM REVIEW: Diane Gentile Displays Vintage Charm & Empathetic Perspectives On ‘The Bad And The Beautiful’

On September 22nd, New York City native and long time songwriter Diane Gentile released her new album, The Bad and The Beautiful.

A quasi pop-rock collaborative effort with her band The Gentle Men — consisting of Colin Brooks, Jason Victor, James Cruz, James Mastro, and Rob Clores — The Bad and the Beautiful works as a collection of stories that transforms the listener into Gentile’s world full of dreams, experiences, reflections, and explorations.

“This record is simply about people, the good and the bad,” Gentile told us back in July. “It’s not about the ugly, nor the great. It’s just about people, who I think are all beautiful, and bad at the same time. I don’t believe the human condition is made any other way.” 

Produced by James Maddock and Jesse Malin and released via Velvet Elk Records, the album is a magnetic cross between classic rock, 80s pop, blues, and plenty of other sub-genres that represent the energetic and pulsing feel of Gentile’s unique sound. According to Gentile, the songs began as “small scenes like the beginnings of films in my head that create the basis for the songs. […] What I write about, at first, is usually just a mystery to me. I hope that, to the listener, the mystery is their own interpretation of the lyric, as it relates to their own experiences.” 

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“Lace Up Your Sneakers”

Each track brings something new to the album as a whole, and the result is a dynamic collection of songs that is sure to captivate listeners.

The opening track, “Lace Up Your Sneakers,” is a disco-laden anthem about longing to escape the monotony of everyday life. Opening with the lines “Lace up your sneakers / Your hair is square, you fell out of bed / On line for coffee, remembering what you couldn’t forget,” the song immediately creates a vibe similar to the opening of a classic 80s movie. 

The upbeat nature of this track—especially in its instrumentals—kicks off the record on an energetic note while also maintaining a solid sense of depth in the very relatable lyrics.

“Fade Away Author”

The album’s fourth track, “Fade Away Author,” serves as a heartbreaking yet relatable ballad centering around a toxic relationship. The slower tempo nicely contrasts earlier songs like “Lace Up Your Sneakers” while remaining intriguing and engaging through its calming guitar rhythms and powerfully descriptive lyrics.

Lines like “And all the wild tales they thrilled me / Busted a hole in my soul / It rained in letters and it snowed in prose / And in the end there was no closure” provide the reader with poetic language and a sense of understanding of the perspective in the song.

The hard-driving and frenetic rock n’ roll tune, “The Hook Up,” details the feelings and thought processes involved when anticipating a late night hookup. Opening with loud, pulsing electric guitar and drums, the track immediately commands attention and holds it firmly throughout. As Gentile’s smooth voice sings lines like “I don’t suppose you know the feeling / Feeling just like this / It’s wide awake anticipation / Nothing matter bliss,” she addresses the listener and draws them into this palpable feeling of suspense and excitement.

“The Hook Up”

The album concludes with “Kiss the Sky,” a heartfelt piano ballad as raw as it is beautiful. Gentile’s voice is the main draw to this track, remaining both soft and strong as the song picks up and quiets down. Lines like “You’re always throwing punches just to get a rise / You’re always stealing kisses with the devil’s smile” reveal the imagery-laden honesty with which Gentile is known to display. It serves as a satisfying culmination to the journey she embarks upon throughout the course of the album.

Gentile grew up in Flushing, Queens, surrounded by a musical family. Her early exposure to music, coupled with her innate talent, led her to become a self-taught pianist and songwriter from a young age. Over the years, she has honed her craft while working in the music business, gaining invaluable knowledge of the industry and nurturing her passion for songwriting.

Gentile has a handful of gigs coming up in NYC and DC in October.

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