The Boss is back
If Bruce Springsteen’s latest release can tell us anything, it’s that The Boss is certainly back.
“Wrecking Ball,” titled for a song Springsteen debuted in 2008 with the close of the original Meadowlands Stadium, highlights his struggling love-hate relationship with America. While this album strays from The E Street Band’s typical tunes about love, loss and the Jersey shore, it still packs a decent punch.
This is Springsteen’s 17th album and the first since the band’s loss of saxophonist Clarence “The Big Man” Clemons. “Wrecking Ball” and “Land of Hope and Dreams,” which debuted in 1999, are the only two tracks featuring Clemons’ last recordings with the band. Without Clemons, the classic E Street Band sound has been replaced by marching beats, blues and even Celtic and country influences. Impressive may not be the exact term for this work, especially not to those who yearn for classic Springsteen.
The album’s target audience is clear – those in middle class America who have been slighted by Wall Street and the tough economic times of today. The lyrics are well-thought and depict the weariness that comes from struggling in Middle America. The lyrics are also telling of a connection with God in times of hardship. On “Rocky Ground,” Springsteen sings, “Forty days and nights of rain have washed this land, Jesus said the money changers in this temple will not stand.”
“Jack of All Trades” and “You’ve Got It” offer a soft, comforting acoustic sound and a reminder that nobody should feel alone.
“We Take Care of Our Own,” the first track as well as the first debuted single, has the best mix of new and old Springsteen and exemplifies the self-reliance that comes with a love-hate relationship with America. “Where’s the work that set my hands, my soul free?” The Boss sings. “Where’s the spirit that’ll reign over me? Where’s the promise, from sea to shining sea?”
While this album shows that he is clearly disenchanted with the current state of our country, Springsteen does not miss a beat in an attempt to entertain, speak the voices of the many struggling in America, and press on without The Big Man.
Charlotte Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.