Bruce Springsteen – ‘Wrecking Ball’ Album Review
Having lost his close friend, saxophonist Clarence Clemons, which followed the death of another E Street Band member, keyboardist Danny Federici, you sense that Springsteen is approaching every song like it may be his last, venting his fury on the government’s continual disarming of the American Dream. That said, there’s a wealth of substance behind ‘Wrecking Ball’ with The Boss producing one of his best works to date in what’s become a customary vitriolic mindstate – ‘Darkness on The Edge of Town’ and ‘Nebraska’ albums of 1978 and ’82 were written in similar vein.
‘Wrecking Ball’ is a political onslaught by a perturbed Springsteen with every meaningful lyric delivered with venomous passion and rage as the patriot voices his animosity toward the way in which his beloved country is governed: a representative for the working man during harsh economic times.
It’s apparent that the album is to take this direction from the opening track, ‘We Take Care Of Our Own’, a notable American folk-rock anthem that asks “where’s the promise from sea to shining sea?”, and not a single clunker follows on the albums concise tracklist. A younger audience may be enticed by The Boss’s ability to speak on such matters to an uplifting musical soundscape of guitars, hoedown drum charges, banjos and penny whistles, but the real substance comes via Springsteen’s very literal and upfront lyrics of recession-fuelled aggression, cynicism toward bankers and corporate bosses, and the general dire straits of his country.
His ability to tone it down to a slow tempo piano led anthem (until none other than Tom Morello’s weighty guitar infiltrates) on ‘Jack Of All Trades’, an emotive flying-the-flag song for the proud working man who busts a gut while the corporate powerhouses reap the benefits. After holding back, Springsteen lashes out on one of the albums standout tracks, ‘Death To My Hometown’, a hawkish Pogues-esque marching song citing lyrics “send the robber baron’s straight to hell, the greedy thieves that came around, and ate the flesh of everything they’ve found”. On album of peaks and troughs ‘This Depression’ once agains softens the fall in preparation for title track ‘Wrecking Ball’ – the portrayal of a classic. Just when you think the album isn’t going to close with the same delight that it opened following Michelle Moore’s well-placed quasi-rap in ‘Rocky Ground’, another belter in ‘Land Of Hopes And Dreams’ champions the albums climax, with the late Clarence Clemons featuring on a fitting epitaph. By the time the country paean ‘We Are Alive’ arrives to close the album you feel that you have already learned so much and that really and truly the album doesn’t need close scrutiny, just appreciation, or, a quick listen.
Springsteen’s voice is powerfully alluring, much like a vigilante mob leader rather than a good car salesman, probing many American folk – jest-or-not – to encourage that he emulate Arnold Schwarzenegger and run for an elect position, but you feel that the sincerity in his attempts to amalgamate the nation could be all but lost, ironically, as an officiator.
To know that a legend still has it all to give some 17 albums later, with his outlook and message conveyance extremely passionate, the arrival of confrère Paul Weller’s forthcoming ‘Sonik Kicks’ album couldn’t come sooner.
Overall rating: 8/10
Worth A Listen: We Take Care Of Our Own, Easy Money, Shackled And Drawn, Jack Of All Trades, Death To My Hometown, Land Of Hopes And Dreams
Posted on March 19, 2012, in Album Review, New Music and tagged Ampall Sound, Bruce Springsteen, Death To My Hometown, Easy Money, Jack Of All Trades, Land Of Hopes And Dreams, Music, Rocky Ground, Shackled And Drawn, We Take Care Of Our Own, Wrecking Ball. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.