If I have one criticism of Bruce Springsteen’s latest album, the optimistic, Obama-hope-infused “Working On A Dream,” it’s this-he just too damn happy.
Bruce needs to be singing about getting screwed by the factory boss while trying to get your ’65 Chevy started when you’re down by the river with Crazy Janey on your way to a pink Cadillac in the darkness of the edge of town. Don’t ask me what the hell that’s supposed to mean-Bruce’ll sing it and it will make sense.
It’s been a prolific decade for the Boss-five studio albums, three live albums, a 30th anniversary reissue (with one planned for later this year), four DVD releases and two retrospective compilations. But Bruce is at his best when he’s wrestling with the dark side of the American dream, and there’s just too much optimism flowing through the lyrics on this album. The music follows suit, with classic pop and folk derived melody deftly woven together by Brendan O’Brien’s heavily layered production.
Sadly, the lyrics do not live up to the music in many cases, often bordering on banal (“Queen Of The Supermarket?”). There a few exceptions, and a standout cut for me is “The Wrestler.” I love the lyric, and the simplistic arrangement.
Now let me say a few words to assuage the Bruce faithful before they seek me out and bury me up in the Meadowlands. A bad album from Bruce is still better than most great albums by other artists.
Living in Arizona, I miss the hoopla that a new Bruce album used to be (still is?). Out here, you’re lucky to find Bruce as all of the display space is reserved for Jordin Sparks and whoever the country sweetheart of the week is.
I’m sure back in Philadelphia, stores opened at midnight and people braved the elements at lunchtime to buy their copy.
Maybe I’m living in the past-heck, I bought a copy on vinyl-but I miss the days when a new Bruce record was an event.