David Wild has a space-filling little post over at Huffpo entitled “Back Off the Boss,” in which he suggests a ton of “Springsteen Bashing.” Now, I love Bruce. LOVE him. But for David Wild to suggest people are bashing Bruce because he a. didn’t get an Oscar nomination for “The Wrestler” theme, and b. because they’re lukewarm on the new album and Magic, well, that’s just silly and wrong.
Magic is, well, just alright. “Radio Nowhere” rips pretty good. “You’ll Be Coming Down” is a great indictment to the transitory nature of youth. “Living in the future” is sloganeering, and it needs to swing (it doesn’t). I would contend that the E Street Band hasn’t really swung since “Mad Dog” Lopez left. Max is great, but there’s just something loose about those first coupla albums that I can’t put my finger on. That being said, Max’s playing on the Hammersmith Odeon Live ’75 disc is fantastic.
As for the rest, it’s a pretty spare bunch: “Girls in Their Summer Clothes” is a great “River”-era, girl-group gem that coulda been written in the 50’s; “I’ll Work For Your Love” has a great verse, boring chorus; “Devil’s Arcade” I’ll bet was a great demo, it’s a bit ponderous with the band; and of course, “Terry’s Song” is a crushingly great odeto a friend who’s passed. Can’t say enough good things about that song.
“Long Walk Home,” for me, is the gem of the bunch. It says what it needed to say about George Bush’s stolen America in a way that’s personal and heartbreaking: that of a soldier returning home from Iraq. The line “Your flag flyin’ over the courthouse/Means certain things are set in stone/Who we are, what we’ll do and what we won’t” is one of the best Springsteen’s ever written. “And what we won’t” draws that line in the sand: We don’t torture. We don’t attack countries that don’t attack us. We give people Habeus Corpus. We’re Americans.
I won’t go into The Rising, which for me, is the Rattle and Hum of the 2000’s. You take 7 songs off of each album, and you’ve got two classics. You leave those 7 on, and you’ve got two ok albums. Just to show my hand, for me, my top five Springsteen albums are:
- The Ghost of Tom Joad/Nebraska
- Born to Run
- Darkness on the Edge of Town
- Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ
- Tunnel of Love
And soon, the streets of New Jersey will run red with the blood of the blasphemous blogger. Hopefully Bruce’s Superbowl Halftime Show will be every bit as good as I suspect it will be. Prince good, one hopes.
Kenwoode News: Carl has disappeared. I’m giving him until the end of the week, and then I fear I may have to start posting pencilled pages to shame him into moving faster. He’s been warned.
I didn’t want to have to do this.