Music Review: Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball
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When The Rising came out in the wake of 9/11 in 2002, many considered the Bruce Springsteen album as a response to the tragedy.
Throughout the next decade, songs like "The Rising" and "My City of Ruins" would become songs of rejoice and heartbreak. Springsteen has a mystical way of bringing people together in times of despair. And now, 10 years later, he's still bringing people together. Only this time he's not talking about the war on the Middle East, but rather the war on Wall Street.
If The Rising represented America gaining its footing, then Wrecking Ball represents Americans fighting for what's theirs. Wrecking Ball is a monster of an album that packs a lot of punches, including the fact the E Street Band joins Springsteen once again.
Lyrically, Springsteen is in top form, writing some of the most poetic material he's ever written. Right from the beginning The Boss doesn't start out soft. On "We Take Care of Our Own," he comes in with a guitar-blazing track that embellishes the recent occupy movements.
"Jack of All Trades," a song Springsteen wrote in 2009, came before the outcry of rage from the public about Wall Streets. And yet it sums up how the common man felt at the time. "The banker man grows fat, working man grows thin / It's all happened before and it'll happen again."
The Boss doesn't just play straight up rock on this album though. He goes into many other music genres. On tracks like "Death To My Hometown" and "American Land," Springsteen takes them on with a Celtic approach.
He even delves into rap on "Rocky Ground," but thankfully it's not him that's rapping. The song is a spiritual, featuring Michelle Moore. She sings on the track and raps a verse or two with The Boss howling away. It's a bit weird that rap and Springsteen are featured in the same song, but for the purpose of the song, it works.
Of course it goes without saying the album feels empty without Clarence Clemons, the "Big Man" himself. But his presence is still apparent in old saxophone bits that are on the album.
In the middle of "Land of Hope and Dreams," for example, Clarence comes in with his big, soulful sax and brings the track home with another solo. It's like he never left, but once the track ends, you'll want to replay his solo because you miss him so much.
Wrecking Ball is a solid Springsteen album, hiting home to all of us. The range he has musically on this album is very diverse and might scare away old Springsteen fans - especially the rapping - but Springsteen knows what he's doing.
This album symbolizes the era we live in, and knowing Springsteen, he represented the times his own way - the Boss way.
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