Thursday, 22 March 2012

Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball

It would appear that since the release of Magic in 2007, Bruce has regained much of the popularity he lost during the late 90s. I will state this outright, 'Wrecking Ball' is a fantastic album, one that incorporates everything that makes Bruce one of the biggest recording artists ever with modern touches that brings a new variety to his music. It is also considerably more focused than any of his recent work, tackling the question posed in the open track, do we ('we' being Americans but it works on an international level) take care of our own.

Bruce has always sought to address the gap between the American dream and reality through his music, and Wrecking Ball approaches this through telling the stories of characters in the recent economic crisis. The man in 'Easy Money' who has decided to steal because there is more money to be had in theft, or the man in 'Jack Of All Trades' who is willing to take whatever work is going to support his family. It paints a bleak picture of modern times.

It is surprising how well the blend of different styles of music work on this record. The combination of Irish folk, gospel and almost hip-hop style synthed drums makes the record feel all-encompassing in its approach to the topics at hand. Despite this however, it is the most stereotypical anthem tracks that stand out. The title track challenges the system to bring down our homes, and the stunning Land Of Hope And Dreams is about the promise of a better life, one that is out there if we a willing to search for it.

Wrecking Ball really does feel like Bruce back to his best. It may lack the classic feel of the likes of Born to Run, but it's him at his most honest and passionate for decades. It's Bruce for a new age, the questions posed in his classic records brought forward into the modern day. It's brilliant.


Sean Collison

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