UPDATE: 2013 GRAMMY NOMINATIONS:
- Best Rock Performance for "We Take Care of Our Own"
- Best Rock Song for "We Take Care of Our Own"
- Best Rock Album
Come on up for the rising of the glory days.
Yes, it's time for the Boss.
You're welcome Erin. (love being able to insert personal notes once in a while)
If you caught his performance on the Grammys, you know that Bruce is making a comeback this year to the music industry. Er, I guess it's not a comeback per-se, because I don't know that he's gone anywhere. But maybe I just think that because I'm from Jersey, and he never goes away in our minds.
This is the 17th album in for this man, which I will always continue to point out is impressive in a career, especially when kids today can still say they've heard the name. It's meant to, coincidently enough, be "a vision of modern life." What's funny is that a lot of reviewers have said this music sounds more like classic Springsteen than things he's put out in the past few albums - in other words, they enjoy it more. I have been waiting to catch up to this day to review the new music, and don't think I've ever been quite this excited for Springsteen, well, ever.
Join me on the listen page from Spotify for the good times!
We start things off with the 2012 Grammy kick-off song, "We Take Care of Our Own." That night, this had a lot to do with the togetherness of the music industry, which I'll admit, I was a sucker for and loved every second of that party. I may not be in the fire directly these days, but my heart is totally in that business, and this is a great theme for it. Bruce's voice isn't as prevalent on the track as he seemed that night. Oddly enough, it's maybe even more solemn than that night where the main talk was the recent loss of Whitney. But the spirit of the song is what's important here - we have to help each other out, because we're really in this together at the end of the day.
I refuse to believe we are ever truly alone. Thank goodness.
"Easy Money" has a nice cool beat and a more strained vocal track. It's just got a lot more folk and country sound to it than the first track, which was more rock and roll. I'm not hating on it at all - love the fiddle work and drum beats throughout. It's genuinely good stuff instrumentally, almost giving a party tone throughout. I'm not sure how much sense it makes, but hey, have fun with it!
I almost included a video of the next song, "Shackled and Drawn" from SxSW, because this was the debut place for it, but the quality wound up sucking. Ahhh I'm just taking up space. The song itself. It's fun, and almost has a cool working feel to it. I can't place the exact song in my head, but I've heard this beat on "Animaniacs" or something like that before - obviously with different lyrics. It's very much a build-upon song, where each piece described the last, like kids songs do. Obviously, that's not the intention here, especially with those chains being used for sounds late in the song.
Oh man, I knew this one was coming. It's the slower song, "Jack Of All Trade." We were, of course, having too much fun. Wow, listen to that classic simple piano line in the back, and the slow beat of the drums. Let's sway with out lighters, shall we all? Whew. He's taking care of his girl through it all, moving on through, even in the tough times. There's actually this additional cool Italian theme through the bridge, along with horns playing it through.
"The Depression" is the power ballad, I'm calling it now. "I need your heart" is a dead give away, but even more so is the aching guitar crying out in the instrumental bridge. Oh Bruce, please find happiness somehow. Sorry, just thoughts spilling out onto the page right now.
The title track is always exciting to me. I love to find out if it's representative of the whole album or just an oddball piece. "Wrecking Ball" is very much folk with Bruce's own style of rock to it. You have to understand, I was brought up on newer Springsteen, and I like it that way. I like him as a rocker with this kind of individual sound to everything. I love him use of power guitar with his odd vocal sound. He keeps the party going in the oddest way.
"You've Got It" might be my favorite song so far, and also one of the simplest, even with the drumming going on. There's just an easy line on appreciating someone for what they mean to you, without ever being able to describe it. But hell, you just want it. The song's got an old time goodness about it that's just... well, good.
Kind of an interesting intro to "Rocky Ground." We're back to the tough-times theme that's been pretty prevalent. Not gonna like, got excited when he started with "rise up." The additional voices are kind of cool, as they provide a backup with their own journey throughout. It goes down to one a few times in, giving a good dynamic to the song. I can see this being a really nice moment in the concert, just to have some time of self-reflection throughout the rest, even with the rap that's oddly input about 3/4 of the way through.
"Land of Hope and Dreams" has an entirely classic American rock theme, but would you expect any less from The Boss? It's got this great banjo sound carrying it, a chorus singing praises, and hitting points with the whole group involved. It actually, in my opinion, would make an awesome closing track. It's got a good inspirational tone and call for more.
"Swallowed Up (In The Belly Of The Whale)" is officially the simplest but most intense song ever - almost reminding me of Leonard Cohen. It's tough to hear, and downright depressing when you hear the lyrics at a lower level. There's a lack of hope, unlike a lot of the other songs that sing specifically of it. It's not pleasant.
The final song is "American Land." Appropriately titled, huh? It should actually be "Irish Land," because this song screams of it musically. But alas, it's about coming over and making a real home here, and actually speaks of all sorts of origins. That's it. I'm partying with Springsteen next St. Patrick's day, because he clearly has an appreciation of it being for all.
- "We Take Care of Our Own"
- "Wrecking Ball"
- "You've Got It"
- "Rocky Ground"
- "Land of Hope and Dreams"
It's a good ol' American album that deserves a lot of credit for being pulled together. Seriously. Bruce did a great job keeping up with some really tough things throughout this, from pacing to instrumentation to range. It's a good one for the repertoire and should make for a fantastic touring set.