Sunday, February 26, 2012
Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball
Then I read about Bruce experimenting. Drum loops and other electronica. It was like oh shit here we go again. I also didn't think the lead single was all that great so I was a little bummed out and worried that Wrecking Ball was going to be another flop.
Well after repeated listening I can tell you that all my fears were unwarranted. Wrecking Ball is a very, very good record. Is it Darkness for a new generation? No, but then that probably could never happen. What it is is a very direct response to our troubled times by one of the great songwriters of our generation. This is not the narrator in Darkness or the voice of The River, rather it is the voice of a generation singing about how the American Dream has become tarnished over the past decade. There is a lot of desperation on this record...it is not Dancing In The Dark part two, in fact it is closer to Nebraska, Ghost of Tom Joad and Devils and Dust rather than Born In The USA.
The sound of the record is not all that striking really after all of the reports of experimentation. In fact it is often closer to the Seger Sessions in sound than it is to those other records. Even in desperation there is a real buoyancy to the soundtrack (Death To My Hometown among others). In particular Shackled and Drawn, Jack of All Trades and This Depression are particularly strong on what looks to be side one. There is a constant feeling of desperation that works its way through these songs culminating in Wrecking Ball, a tune I didn't care much for on the last tour but one that now seems so much stronger in the context of the album.
The album then begins to turn a bit towards more of feeling of hope, if ever so slightly. Yes there is a tiny little rap on Rocky Ground (the albums weakest cut in my opinion but one that is not in the least a "bad" song) but it is really pretty tame and sung by one of the other vocalists. The album ends on an almost spiritual note with Land of Hope and Dreams (from the 1999 tour but far more affecting in this incarnation) and the closing We Are Alive.
All told this is a rock solid Springsteen record. I can't wait to hear this on vinyl when it is released next week. It will be interesting to see how these songs are transformed on the tour as the album is pretty much a solo record as it stands.
No question that this gets the OldRockr1 Seal Of Approval. I only wish that the sax solo on Land Of Hope & Dreams the last we will hear from Clarence...the Big Man will be missed.
UPDATE: Still loving it and Rocky Ground is fast becoming a favorite. This one is right up there with the classics.