October 3, 2007

Springsteen's new album "Magic": It ain't no beauty, but hey it's alright

First off, I'm not a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen. He's got a few great songs ("Thunder Road", "Rosalita", "Badlands", etc); but overall, I think he's way overhyped. Maybe some of that is the whole New Jersey vibe (me being a New Yawker 'n all), and maybe alot of it is because I was a punk rocker for most of his crossover heyday (ie: Born In The USA) and despised that whole "Dancing In The Dark" tripe.
Yeah, I know he wrote "Hungry Heart" for the Ramones, but that's sort of a lame song anyway!
Plus, unless you're X, it's not so cool to have your wife in your band.

However, he is pretty anti-authoritarian and most of his tunes don't 100% suck. And Steve Van Zandt is mega cool (by virtue of his whole garage band touting) And, I have seen him live few times over the years and provided that the intoxicants are ingested correctly, he is a whole lot of fun. In fact, I'll probably end up seeing him again when he plays in my area later this month (if anyone has extra tix, let me know!)

I d/l'ed his new album Magic (available at corporate behemoths everywhere) and I suspect his old fans will love it but that few new fans will be lured in by it. It definitely harkens back to his late 70's/early 80's sound (many of these songs would feel right at home on The River or Darkness (especially "Livin In The Future").

However, that's also a flaw of the album. Everything sounds derivitive. If it doesn't remind you of HIS old stuff, it will remind you of some other band's old stuff. There's one tune that sounds like REM, one song that sounds like John Cougar Melonhead, another couple that sound almost like The Byrds.

Look, I think it's a decent album and a keeper. And at least when the critics start fellating him on how "The Boss" is back, it won't be utter bullshit (as when Bob Dylan releases new material which is unlistenable; and everyone says it's his best album since Blood On The Tracks!)

The lyrics touch upon the usual themes (loss, futility, anti-war)
sample lyric:

"Who'll be the last to die for a mistake
The last to die for a mistake
Whose blood will spill, whose heart will break
Who'll be the last to die for a mistake"

I count 4-5 songs that are noteworthy ("Gypsy Biker" being the best), the rest are fine but not very memorable. And the first single "Radio Nowhere" has the same rhythm in the verses as as Tommy Tutone's 867-5309!

I do have a problem with Springsteen's voice. It's even more affected than in the past. He sings like he's trying to take a wicked dump or something.

Anyway, I am not posting the album (Bruce's lawyers would be very angry!).

But here's the live rehearsal show he played in New Jersey on Sept 25, 2007. It's got several of the new tunes plus some classics. It's an audience recording but not bad at all!

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
Rehearsal Night 2
Asbury Park Convention Hall
September 25, 2007


  1. RADIO NOWHERE
  2. PROVE IT ALL NIGHT
  3. LONESOME DAY
  4. GYPSY BIKER
  5. MAGIC
  6. NIGHT
  7. SHE'S THE ONE
  8. LIVIN' IN THE FUTURE
  9. THE PROMISED LAND
  10. TOWN CALLED HEARTBREAK
  11. DARLINGTON COUNTY
  12. BORN IN THE USA
  13. DEVIL'S ARCADE
  14. THE RISING
  15. LAST TO DIE
  16. LONG WALK HOME
  17. BADLANDS
  18. GIRLS IN THEIR SUMMER CLOTHES
  19. THUNDERCRACK
  20. BORN TO RUN
  21. AMERICAN LAND
Have at it!

6 comments:

Jeff said...

I bought the album for my wife, but haven't had a chance yet to listen to it. I just recently picked up "Weird Tales of the Ramones" and have been listening to that, along with a lot of Foo Fighters and the Donnas. The new Tegan and Sara is also worming its way into my brain.

I'll have to check out the show from my computer at home. Thanks!

aikin said...

I was all caught up in the hype over Magic, and was excited about it, but I still haven't got it. I was a little disappointed with The Rising and maybe I think there's no way Magic can meet expectations. I am hearing pretty good things about it, though.

Michael said...

I hate to say it but if anyone other than Bruce had put out this album it would have been looked at as overproduced (less bass please) and foregettable...and I'm a Bruce fan!
Mike Zwei...

Zooomabooma said...

damn, bitch. punk, gd, & the boss? cool.

i caved in and bought it, the new springsteen. i had to, i'm a bruce fan from way back, well, before my GD days by a few yrs. just got it yesterday and gave it two listens... will play it again later. i loved The Rising but sold it after only a few months... was too painful to listen to. will pick it up again someday.

magic is... eh. i didn't really hear 70's in it... maybe 1 song goin' towards sort of a River sound. maybe a part of a song coulda fit into BtoR. some more tunes are like leftovers from The Rising but had no 9/11 theme to them. some kinda Human Touch-ish.

it's true -- overproduced. bruce really wanted it that way? can barely pick out individual instruments and when you can, it's so brief. but overall it's not bad.

Bruce's lawyers can get mad at me 'cause i'm gonna post it up in a day or two.

and I'm gonna hafta grab this Asbury Park show. I think he played the Meadowlands, too... that's up at SugarMegs i noticed.

Nazz Nomad said...

Imma goin' to the New Jersey show tonite. I'll let ya'll know how it was. First I gotta go get my vaccinations so I don't pick up any diseases whilst in the swamps of Jersey.

Allen L. said...

I think you nailed it.

Here was my review on Shuffleboil.

http://shuffleboil.com/2007/10/12/review-bruce-springsteen-magic/