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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bruce Springsteen releases his “Occupy” album Wrecking Ball: March 6, 2012








“There will be those that believe a millionaire rock star singing about poor people and hard work, as Bruce Springsteen so passionately does on his powerful new album Wrecking Ball, to be the height of hypocrisy. But to do so would be both shortsighted and uninformed. First, as a pedigreed Jersey shore rat raised in economically depressed Freehold, N.J., Springsteen knows a thing or two about economic frustration. And, secondly, anyone who has seen Springsteen perform at any one of thousands of shows over the past 40 years, with or without his E Street Band, is well aware that he packs his lunch pail every night and welcomes overtime.” BB

On his 17th album, Springsteen “soars on familiar strengths: passion, roadhouse swagger, muscular melodies and a fighting spirit.” UT “With its gritty portrayal of the danger at hand when lives are lived on the edge of collapse,” BB Ball explores “familiar working class territory, but with a vigor and fearlessness not seen since 2002’s equally-inspired The Rising.” BB While “The Rising will always be remembered as Springsteen’s ‘9-11 album’, …Wrecking Ball will go down as his ‘Occupy album’,” PM Ball working the same territory as Woody Guthrie’s ‘This Land Is Your Land,’ celebrating the possibilities of the American Dream while acknowledging the pain of its failures.” AV





Springsteen has always been adept at creating “specific character vignettes that speak to larger social concerns,” PM but here his protagonists “are less elusive about whom to blame for their troubles…taking on the real culprits unambiguously.” PM “On a tear to raze Wall Street and raise Main Street, Springsteen grapples with Everyman frustration and dread” UT and the devastation brought on by “Wall Street greed and corruption.” WK It is “his angriest and most politically pointed [work] to date.” UT

The album has largely been reported to be “‘wild’ and ‘experimental’” PM and, indeed, it is “very rock and roll with unexpected textures, loops, electronic percussion, and an amazing sweep of influences and rhythms, from hip-hop to Irish folk rhythms.” WK The album is notable for its inclusion of Clarence Clemons’ last work with Springsteen and the E Street Band before his death in June 2011. WK The album features other E Street Band members and special guests Tom Morello and Matt Chamberlain, WK but mostly “relies on players from 2006’s We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, Wrecking’s closest cousin in his catalog.” UT

First single, We Take Care of Our Own, “serves as the album’s moral compass.” BB It is one of Springsteen’s classic “scathing message songs that sound patriotic, an irony lost on nearly everyone who hears them.” PM



“The whisper-to-a-scream title track,” AV Wrecking Ball, was penned in 2009 in honor of the closing of Giants Stadium and was performed live during the supporting tour for Working on a Dream. WK It “takes on a whole new life in the context of this record.” BB as “a raging state of the union address enveloped in rootsy folk-rock.” UT

Land of Hope and Dreams dates back to 1999’s E Street Band reunion tour WK. It has been reworked into “a brighter, peppier take…and when Clarence’s unmistakable sax (one of just two appearances on the album) busts out of the bridge, it’ll bring you to your knees.” PM It is “a broad, anthemic slice of Americana” BB which has been called “one of Springsteen’s finest modern originals.” PM

Check out the DMDB web page for Wrecking Ball for a more extensive track-by-track review and videos of more songs.


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