I've been listening to Bruce Springsteen's new CD Magic for a little more than a full week courtesy of Q104.3 and will buy the new CD tomorrow while I'm traveling. I also had to attend the final rehearsal show at Continental Airlines Friday night with my son (it was his second Bruce concert). It was really one of the greatest concert moments I've ever attended as we were two of about 3K at the show and pretty much had the run of the entire venue. We could move around so my son had an unobstructed view and danced on the floor to Waitin' on a Sunny Day and Thundercrack, and we screamed during Born to Run. The show was unbelievably good and I don't even remember paying 3 times the face value to a couple of other fans from South Jersey. I've also already downloaded a copy of a bootleg from the 2nd rehearsal how in Asbury Park.
I've read a ton of articles and interviews with Bruce on the new CD because it is a complicated one. This is also the first CD that I had to research from Bruce because past ones usually dealt with simpler, overt messaging - girls, beaches, cars, the working life, and etc. Magic is definitely not overt and as far as I can tell deals with two main themes: relationships with people and relationships with your country.
The people relationship ones come out loud and clear on songs like Girls in Their Summer Clothes (really a classic Springsteen tune) and I'll Work for Your Love. The rest of the CD is not so easy and if people tell you that it is NOT political they are really spinning some Magic on you.
- Magic (the song) is about the ability for the media or politicians to turn truth into lies or lies into truth. It reminds me of a lot of the posts I've made on understanding the writer's or reporter's point of view and that you should look at both sides of a story for the truth in between. Bruce also mentioned in the introduction to the song in AP that "we are living in Orwellian times" and that we should "ask John Kerry".
- Radio Nowhere to me on the surface is the blandness is today's pre-programmed radio stations, but if you scratch the surface, I believe Bruce is warning us how the media if controlled by a few companies (News Corp?) will result in a lack of real debate. What we'll be left with is a homogeneous media with no real insights
- Livin' In The Future is one of the most daring songs of the CD. It is the catchiest tune on it and guaranteed you'll be tapping your feet and singing along without even realizing it. It reminds me of Born In The USA not because of the words, but because of the message. BITUSA was hijacked by the media and the anti-war message was lost, but not Livin' In The Future. Bruce as he introduces the song talks about what America stands for and that now includes "illegal wire-tapping, torture, suspensions of Habeas Corpus" and he refers to 6 years which is a shot against the Bush Administration.
I could go on and on, but I have multiple day jobs and you should get the idea. As Bruce warns in Magic, you need to spend some time with the lyrics of these songs and understand what you are singing about. Magic is anything but a non-political CD and as I wrote in the title is sneaky good.
Instead of being overt in campaigning against what Bruce thinks is right or wrong, he is doing it in song. I think he is still stung by his entrance into the 2004 election and the subsequent Kerry loss, but that campaigning person is really who he is now. He can still pump out music, song, and concerts better than anyone alive, but read what you are singing; nothing is what it seems on the surface anymore even from your Rock and Roll hero.