Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball
Bruce has been prolific during the new millennium, releasing five other albums since 2002. Some have been quite amazing. “The Rising” and “We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions” come to mind as standouts. With his sixth release in twelve years and seventeenth of his career, Bruce unearths another gem. Note, however, this review should be taken with a grain of salt, since I am an unabashed Springsteen fanboy and he has never put out an album I didn't like. That being said, I think Wrecking Ball is his best release since 1987's “Tunnel Of Love”.

Recorded with members of the E Street Band and some from the Sessions Band with guest appearances by Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine and drummer Matt Chamberlain, this album is a loud angry wall of sound. It recalls Bruce's work on “Nebraska” as well as his work on “The River” and “Born In The USA” days. “Wrecking Ball” brings an edge both politically and socially that hasn't been this strong since “The Ghost of Tom Joad”.

Starting with “We Take Care Of Our Own”, which will likely be misinterpreted with it's chorus, Bruce casts irony on the whole idea, from “the shotgun shack to the Superdome” that we truly “take care of our own”. He reminds us “Hold tight to your anger / and don’t fall to your fears” in this title track, setting the tone for what is to come.
The album moves on, each song building on the next. This is probably Bruce's most lushly produced album since “Born To Run”, with songs that feature choirs, Irish drums and whistles, something that sounds like a mariachi band on “We Are Alive”, thrashing guitars and a cast of thousands. Some that grabbed me right away for me are “Easy Money”, with it's story of hustlers trying get what they think the deserve.

“Jack Of All Trades” is truly a song for the working man, the immigrant, the silent masses doing the work we take for granted and often don't appreciate. A place where the “bankers man gets fat and a working man gets thin”. “Death To My Hometown” is an answer to “Born In The USA's” “My Hometown”, where everything is not just boarded up, but has been plundered:
They destroyed our families’ factories and they took our homesThey left our bodies on the plainsThe vultures picked our bonesSo listen up, my Sonny boyBe ready for when they come
“Land of Hopes And Dreams” has been kicking around Bruce's performance set for awhile, but this recording features what well could be the last we hear the Big Man's sax, which adds to it's melancholy and joyous nature.

The album deserves many listenings. I am on my tenth listen and I keep discovering something new each time. Bruce is as vital today as he ever was, lashing out for the people being crushed under underpinnings of a society run by “robber barons” and “fat cats”. This album earns every one of it's four stars

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