Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Bruce Springsteen - Magic

Bruce Springsteen is quite a polarizing figure in American rock music. The Boss is either adored and praised as one of the greatest ever, or loathed and ridiculed as a phony purveyor of Americana due to the guiding hand of longtime manager Jon Landau. It's hard to fall in the middle or not understand the valid argument for the latter after reading something like this. It's hard not to buy into his message and themes of the heartland, cars, the open road, sweeping girls of porch swings, the Man, and bitter relationships. He has been singing mostly about the same things for the better part of 25+ years. There is also no doubt when coupled with his E Street Band he takes on a distinctive sound and songwriting format.

Magic is the newest offering with both the Boss and E Street Band in tow that comes out today October 2nd. The entire album is classic Bruce with his familiar band. Many of the song sound like they could be off any number of older albums. One of which ("Livin' In The Future"), in fact, sounds exactly like "Hungry Heart" from The River in 1980 right down to the wailing Clarence Clemons saxophone. This album almost doesn't feel like new material. It feels recycled. It feels reworked. It feels revised. The Boss is not blazing any new trails here. It's kind of sad in a way. You know exactly what you're going to get, and he delivers. Not that the music is terrible, because it's much better than most, but there is no element of surprise or discovery. This is the real drawback of Bruce Springsteen in the 21st century; he's going to hit the same note every time with the E Street Band, and you have to pray for a diamond in the rough. On the other hand, Magic is a high energy American Rock 'n Roll album that others still dream of creating.

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