Working on a Dream
Released: January 27, 2009
Peak: 11 US, 11 UK, 12 CN, 3 AU
Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, 0.12 UK, 1.67 world (includes US and UK)
Genre: classic rock veteran
Song Title [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.
All songs are written by Bruce Springsteen.
Total Running Time: 51:20
3.624 out of 5.00 (average of 21 ratings)
Awards: (Click on award to learn more).
About the Album:
“Bruce Springsteen has a dream. He has a dream that one day, this rock-and-roll nation will rise up and live like it’s 1965/1966 all over again. He has a dream that our pop stars will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the RIAA-certified colors of their gold and platinum albums, but by how well they appropriate the spectral mid-‘60s sounds of the Beach Boys, Byrds, Beatles, Roy Orbison, Phil Spector and even Ennio Morricone.” FL
“That’s the prevailing musical message of Springsteen and the E Street Band’s surprising new album, Working on a Dream.” FL “It is the fourth collaboration between Springsteen and Brendan O’Brien, who produced and mixed the album.” AZ
The result is an album “unlike any of the previous 15 studio sets in Springsteen’s remarkably rich catalogue, inasmuch as it’s the Jersey boy’s first album in which style clearly trumps substance.” FL “What’s good for our heroes isn’t always good for us. Dylan found God and lost the lyrical plot. Prince scrubbed ‘slave’ from his face and followed his purple muse down the rabbit hole. Bruce Springsteen? At 59, after 35 years of grappling with the dark side of the American Dream, Jersey’s favorite son” SP and “one of the finest American songwriters of his generation;” AZ “sounds relatively content – a far cry from his state of mind 16 months ago, when the bitter and oft-bleak E Street album Magic was released. Then, Springsteen was downright disturbed by the realities of this American life under the watch of George W. Bush.” FL Now he “has reached a promised land of sorts – he’s got his man in the White House, happiness at home, and a gig headlining the Super Bowl. Does it get any better than that? If we’re talking Working on a Dream, the answer, unfortunately, is yes.” SP
“Springsteen is forever striving to blend profound lyrics with bracing rock-and-roll or folk, depending on his musical mood. But Working on a Dream is full of lyrical missteps and half-realized ideas.” FL His “street poetry falls short of earlier majestic peaks, robbing splendor from sonic gem[s].” UT “Mostly upbeat and major key, Springsteen’s fifth studio album in six years plays like the sunlit counterpart to Magic.” SP “The album doesn’t go nearly as deep as you’d expect from one of rock’s preeminent poets; Springsteen’s lyrics tend to be overshadowed by the album’s generally bright melodies and lush textures and sounds.” FL “Bliss [just] isn’t the Boss’ bag. Without anything to push against, one of rock’s most eloquent lyricists is in the awkward position of having little of interest to say.” SP
“What Love Can Do”
“Queen of the Supermarket”
“My Lucky Day”
“The Last Carnival”
“Working on a Dream”
“Kingdom of Days”
“As anyone who’s ever seen him in concert can attest, Bruce Springsteen doesn’t shy from hard work. But people work hardest when they’re hungry; and the man’s 12 new musically sturdy, lyrically iffy love songs and tall tales suggest that America’s most beloved rock icon sags when he’s satisfied. For the majority of people, that’s to be expected. For a hero like Springsteen, it’s a disappointment.” AMG
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First posted 1/20/2009; last updated 8/22/2021.