With a musical career spanning nearly 40 years, it’s hard to imagine how an artist can still remain relevant in 2012. But Bruce Springsteen does just that with his 17th studio album, Wrecking Ball. Its strengths definitely lie in its lyrics and compositions, as is usually the case with any Springsteen recording. Bruce even comes out of his rock comfort zone by experimenting with a bit of Hip Hop for the very first time in his career on “Rocky Ground.” Admittedly, it is not he who performs the short rap in the Gospel-infused song, but guest singer Michelle Moore. Another guest performer is Tom Morello, whose distinctive guitar solos can be heard on the two most touching songs on the record: “Jack of All Trades” and “This Depression.”
It’s worth mentioning that this is the first Springsteen album since the late saxophonist Clarence Clemons’ death in June 2011. Clarence played a huge part in Bruce’s career and was with him from the very first LP in 1973, Greetings From Asbury Park N.J. Clarence passed away just a few weeks before the completion of Wrecking Ball, but through some studio magic his sax can be heard on “Land of Hope and Dreams,” a tune Bruce had written for the E Street Band’s reunion in 1998. Producer Ron Aniello mixed the track from previous live takes and the result is hauntingly beautiful. Bruce also pays a moving tribute to his late friend in the liner notes, saying “Clarence was big and he made me feel, think, and dream big. How big was the Big Man? Too fucking big to die. You can put it on his gravestone, you can tattoo it over your heart.”
Wrecking Ball will definitely stand the test of time. It’s an honest album with a strong theme and heartfelt lyrics. Bruce said he wanted the songs to address what happened to the social fabric of the world we’re living in and he achieves that with all 11 tracks. From beginning to end he’s singing about the current economic depression and the repetitive, historical cycle of social inequality. In “Jack of All Trades” he sings “The banker man grows fat, working man grows thin. It’s all happened before and it’ll happen again.” That song is undeniably the highlight of the record and will undoubtedly stand out as one of his best ballads since “The Ghost of Tom Joad.” All in all this is a beautiful record that demands close attention to the lyrics in order to fully appreciate it.
Bruce Springsteen has nothing left to prove at this stage of his career. Yet he continues to produce excellent and relevant records time and time again. In a Rolling Stone interview with Jon Stewart, Bruce confessed that he recorded almost 40 songs for another record he was working on that had nothing to do with the material on this one, and so he threw it out. Perhaps, some of those songs will find their way on a future Springsteen recording.
Reviewer: Sarah Geledi
IRC: Bill Pulice
You can read more of Sarah Geledi by visiting her webblog at http://goodrockingtonight.wordpress.com/
Powered by Facebook Comments