I just finished listening to Wrecking Ball from start to finish including the bonus tracks. It's an awesome CD and rivals The Rising as his best release since Born In The USA (yes I wrote that). To put that in perspective, my top 5 Springsteen official releases are Born to Run, Darkness on The Edge of Town, Greetings from Asbury Park, Nebraska, and The Rising. So for me to write it's about as good as The Rising puts my love for this CD in perspective.
Now long time readers know what I do with half my working day or so (sometimes more) and my politics. However, I think you need to put politics aside when you listen along unless you are as Bruce puts it "a fat cat on banker's hill". If you like Darkness and the message there about the working, the working, the working life than this is your Darkness on the Edge of Town 2.0. Anyway, onto the quick song reviews...
- We Take Care of Our Own - you've heard it. I wasnt impressed when I first listened to it but this has grown on me. I moved it to a B.
- Easy Money - This is an up tempo version of Meeting Across The River. Unlike Meeting you wont listen to it thinking, oh how soon is Jungleland coming...This is an A.
- Shackled and Drawn - Best song on the release. It might be the best song since Maria's Bed and certainly is a top 10 since 1990. A++ if such a thing exists. If you dont listen to this song today over a dozen times, turn in your Springsteen fan card.
- Jack of All Trades - It's a slow song and the first few times I wasnt impressed. However, this is Factory 2.0 and I'd give it a B+. You arent going to want to hear this live unless he changes the arrangement or maybe you do and use it to hit the bathroom or at least sit down. It's a great listen on the CD.
- Death to My Hometown - This is an Irish drinking song or sounds like it should be. It's a warning to people to protect their own hometown or protect what matters to you. I'd give it an A
- This Depression - It's hard to get excited about this song (see song title). It's a song about asking for help or support. The guitar solo in the song is worth the listen - it reminds me of Youngstown and you can see Nils soloing this on tour. I'll give it a B just because of the music.
- Wrecking Ball - No matter what Bruce says about this song, Wrecking Ball is a dedication to Giants Stadium. He introduced it on the last concerts played at Giants Stadium and uses words to describe the stadium (wrecking ball, Meadowlands, Giants played their games). I'm cool with Bruce trying to repurpose it because the studio version of this song is great and a Wrecking Ball can be used to describe starting over and change or "the more things change, the more things stay the same". This song is an A. One more fact on this song I just noticed. The Big Man's sax is on this song.
- You've Got It - It's not complicated. This is I'm Going Down 2.0. I love that song. I love this song. B+ (yeah it's not higher because, well, this is a simple song).
- Rocky Ground - A lot of religious/Christian themes in this song. It's got great music. It's uplifting. It doesnt really remind me of any other Springsteen song - especially with the rap in the middle.....It's a solid B...I like it. It's not as good as other songs on the CD that's all.
- Land of Hope and Dreams - It's been around forever. The studio version is great. It's an A song. When I hear it I see myself jumping up and down with Bruce towards the end of the song. My only disappointment is I've heard this song over and over again for almost 10 years....However, The Big Man lends his sax on this track..
- We Are Alive - Ever wonder what the dead think about after they are dead? Well Bruce has heard them and tells you what they are thinking - no Ouija board needed. Its an awesome song. A.
- Swallowed Up - It's a bonus song. It's no bonus. Skip it. Ignore it. Even the genius screws up every once in a while. I'm sure his European fan base will love it. I'm sure the Human Touch fan base will love it. Me? I'm hoping he doesnt it play it the three nights in NJ when I'm in the pit because I'm worried he might see my face... It's a F.
- American Land - It's been around since the Seeger tour. The song rocks. It's about as American as you can get. The studio version is great. A++
Don't walk but run to dowload or purchase. This CD is awesome. Springsteen returns to his Darkness roots. So should you.
P.S. One last note on Wrecking Ball. Unlike Springsteen songs in the past, the liner notes credit a bunch of other non-Springsteen songs for providing elements to Wrecking Ball songs. Interesting....