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Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball

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With the E-Street Band, somewhat surprisingly. Think they're workin' on a comeback?

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New album to feature hip-hop beats, loops, Irish folk influences, and angry lyrics about social justice.

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New album to feature hip-hop beats, loops, Irish folk influences, and angry lyrics about social justice.

He lost me --maybe for good--with that last awful record.

He lost me, too, but Bruce has made comebacks before. I'm willing to give this one a shot.

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Rob Mathes, a friend who I think is one of the best orchestrators and arrangers working today, posted this on his blog a little while back:

SPRINGSTEEN

A very secretive project and one Bruce has been working on for a bit with Co-producer Ron Aniello, it has now been announced as being at least on the way. I wrote the String arrangements on it and worked closely with Ron and Bruce on it. I don't want to say too much about the project until it is released out of respect for Bruce and Jon Landau, Bruce's extraordinary manager, but that I can at least mention that it was remarkably moving to be a part of it for all of us, my String players and I. The writing is just on an extraordinary level.

And in another blog post just before Christmas, talking about great artists and songs, he says this:

The new Springsteen album will be out next year and it has songs on this level. All of them I heard were of this extraordinary level and also on a level where you can imagine them sung by Gospel choirs and young women and old men for all eternity in my opinion. It’s one of those.

FWIW.

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More details.

Springsteen's manager Jon Landau tells Rolling Stone that the record is an ambitious "big-picture piece of work. It's a rock record that combines elements of both Bruce's classic sound and his Seeger Sessions experience, with new textures and styles."

...

Members of the E Street Band play on the album, along with a variety of outside musicians, including Tom Morello and possibly former Pearl Jam drummer Matt Chamberlain, who has often recorded on Aniello's projects. "It was an experimental effort with a new producer," says Landau. "Bruce and Ron used a wide variety of players to create something that both rocks and is very fresh."

According to Landau, the record has "social overtones" – although it was largely written before Occupy Wall Street began and doesn't directly address the movement. The LP also has a "very pronounced spiritual dimension," adds Landau. "It extends and deepens the vision that has animated all of Bruce's work." According to The Hollywood Reporter's source, "[bruce] gets into economic justice quite a bit. He feels it's the angriest album he's ever made."

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More details.

Springsteen's manager Jon Landau tells Rolling Stone that the record is an ambitious "big-picture piece of work. It's a rock record that combines elements of both Bruce's classic sound and his Seeger Sessions experience, with new textures and styles."

...

Members of the E Street Band play on the album, along with a variety of outside musicians, including Tom Morello and possibly former Pearl Jam drummer Matt Chamberlain, who has often recorded on Aniello's projects. "It was an experimental effort with a new producer," says Landau. "Bruce and Ron used a wide variety of players to create something that both rocks and is very fresh."

According to Landau, the record has "social overtones" – although it was largely written before Occupy Wall Street began and doesn't directly address the movement. The LP also has a "very pronounced spiritual dimension," adds Landau. "It extends and deepens the vision that has animated all of Bruce's work." According to The Hollywood Reporter's source, "[bruce] gets into economic justice quite a bit. He feels it's the angriest album he's ever made."

I'm so glad that Brendan O'Brien has been given the boot. That guy ruined Working on a Dream for me. Well, that and the lousy songs.

Edited by Andy Whitman

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Hmmmmmmm.

New single "We Take Care of Our Own," available tomorrow?

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Based on my first listen, I think I more or less agree with you, Thom-- I'm not wild about the production but do like the lyrics, and do like that he's opening with an anthem. Not his best single, but it does leave me hopeful that the album will pack more punch than the last couple.

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Hmmmmmmm.

New single "We Take Care of Our Own," available tomorrow?

Great guitar and drum sounds; we haven't heard those for a long time. but those cheesy synths and the string production is so hammy and over the top that it ultimately loses me.

While I like the basic simplicity of the melody, I feel like these lyrics are so self conscious in trying to be an anthem of old (if you don't listen to the lyrics in the correct context, this is one of those songs that could--and I am sure will be--co-opted by xenophobes). SImply two cents. Here's more dope on the album and such:

Bruce Springsteen to Release New Studio Album'Wrecking Ball' on March 6; European Dates and SXSW Keynote Speech Confirmed

Bruce Springsteen's new album 'Wrecking Ball'has been set for March 6 release on Columbia Records. Marking his 17th studioalbum, 'Wrecking Ball' features 11 new Springsteen recordings and was producedby Ron Aniello with Bruce Springsteen and executive producer Jon Landau. Aspecial edition of 'Wrecking Ball' will also be available and include two bonustracks and exclusive artwork and photography.

'Wrecking Ball' Song Titles:

1. We Take Care of Our Own

2. Easy Money

3. Shackled and Drawn

4. Jack of All Trades

5. Death to My Hometown

6. This Depression

7. Wrecking Ball

8. You’ve Got It

9. Rocky Ground

10. Land of Hope and Dreams

11. We Are Alive

Said long-time manager Jon Landau, "Bruce has dug down as deep as he canto come up with this vision of modern life. The lyrics tell a story you can'thear anywhere else and the music is his most innovative of recent years. Thewriting is some of the best of his career and both veteran fans and those whoare new to Bruce will find much to love on 'Wrecking Ball.'"

Bruce Springsteen will make an appearance as the keynote speaker at SXSW 2012.Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will be touring extensively in the USand Europe in 2012. European tour dates have been announced at www.brucespringsteen.net.

Stream "We Take Care of Our Own" and pre-order 'Wrecking Ball' at: http://www.brucespringsteen.net

For album artwork and new press photos of Bruce Springsteen: http://shorefire.com/clients/bspringsteen/

I'm with you, Thom. The first single is okay, and I certainly appreciate the sentiments expressed, but it's far from Bruce's best work.

On the other hand, this album appears to feature the first studio release of the superb "Land of Hope and Dreams," which has been a live staple for the last 15 years, and which already appears on a couple live albums. THAT one, if it's done well, will be worth the price of the album by itself. I can't wait to hear it.

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The xylophones feel so carefully put there, like they are part of Born To Run or Thunder Road, but the overwrought strings and synths kill them. But man....those lyrics; they not only hold me, if you read them, they are just not true--save for in dreams, because we DON'T take care of our own. There's a moment of doubt when asks questions but reaffirms1 the principle of the title.

This song sounds like the logical successor to "Born in the U.S.A." to me. I think the sentiments are dripping in irony. I think Bruce knows very well that we don't take care of our own. "From the shotgun shack to the Superdome" recalls the shameful saga of Hurricane Katrina, and the numerous references to the cavalry that doesn't show up when it's needed seem to bear out that painful reminder.

I like the lyrics a lot, particularly the contrast between the usual political sloganeering of the title (this is an election year, after all; I'm just waiting for some clueless candidate to appropriate this song for his own) and the realities of what actually transpires.

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S.T. Erlewine on Twitter:

Something else Lady Gaga and Bruce Springsteen have in common: they should write fewer self-styled anthems for their perceived audiences.

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Finally had a chance to listen to 'We Take Care of our Own.' "From Chicago to New Orleans," hmm, ya think he's disenchanted with both Obama and the Bush-ites?

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Neil McCormick offers measured praise, expressing concerns with a couple of songs (especially "We Take Care of Our Own") but seeming to like the album quite a bit overall.

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Neil McCormick offers measured praise, expressing concerns with a couple of songs (especially "We Take Care of Our Own") but seeming to like the album quite a bit overall.

Well, it's amazing to me how people, including Neil McCormick, keep missing this song. It's Born in the U.S.A., Part 2, and it's absolutely not a feel-good, fist-pumping anthem in praise of God's own U.S.A. People really don't get irony. But for what it's worth:

I've been knockin' on the door that holds the throne

I've been lookin' for the map that leads me home

I've been stumblin' on good hearts turned to stone

The road of good intentions has gone dry as bone

We take care of our own

We take care of our own

Wherever this flag's flown

We take care of our own

From Chicago to New Orleans

From the muscle to the bone

From the shotgun shack to the Superdome

We yelled "help" but the cavalry stayed home

There ain't no-one hearing the bugle blown

We take care of our own

We take care of our own

Wherever this flag's flown

We take care of our own

Where's the eyes, the eyes with the will to see

Where's the hearts, that run over with mercy

Where's the love that has not forsaken me

Where's the work that set my hands, my soul free

Where's the spirit that'll reign, reign over me

Where's the promise, from sea to shining sea

Where's the promise, from sea to shining sea

Wherever this flag is flown

Wherever this flag is flown

Wherever this flag is flown

We take care of our own

We take care of our own

Wherever this flag's flown

We take care of our own

We take care of our own

We take care of our own

Wherever this flag's flown

We take care of our own

Edited by Andy Whitman

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David Hajdu's not a fan:

With his new album, Wrecking Ball, Springsteen has matched my weakness for his work with the weakness of his work. Granted, he’s aging; five years older than me, Springsteen is sixty-one now. Still, age is a limited defense for having released an album as wan and shallow as Wrecking Ball. If he’s tired, as he has every right to be, his job as a author of songs is to make something of that tiredness in his music—to make pop-music art out of what he knows and feels, as Leonard Cohen (at age 77) has done this year with his lyrically autumnal new album, Old Ideas, or as Paul Simon, at 69, did last year with his So Beautiful or So What. Instead, Springsteen has avoided the hard work of vividly, intimately evoking the human experience in favor of platitudes and sloganeering in quasi-jingoistic bromides like “We Take Care of Our Own.”

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David Hajdu's not a fan:

With his new album, Wrecking Ball, Springsteen has matched my weakness for his work with the weakness of his work. Granted, he’s aging; five years older than me, Springsteen is sixty-one now. Still, age is a limited defense for having released an album as wan and shallow as Wrecking Ball. If he’s tired, as he has every right to be, his job as a author of songs is to make something of that tiredness in his music—to make pop-music art out of what he knows and feels, as Leonard Cohen (at age 77) has done this year with his lyrically autumnal new album, Old Ideas, or as Paul Simon, at 69, did last year with his So Beautiful or So What. Instead, Springsteen has avoided the hard work of vividly, intimately evoking the human experience in favor of platitudes and sloganeering in quasi-jingoistic bromides like “We Take Care of Our Own.”

I wonder what album he's listening to. I could not disagree more. Springsteen sounds totally engaged on his new album. And once again a critic of a major publication has totally missed the point of "We Take Care of Our Own."

From Chicago to New Orleans

From the muscle to the bone

From the shotgun shack to the Superdome

We yelled "help" but the cavalry stayed home

Anybody remember Hurricane Katrina? A quasi-jingoistic bromide? Please.

Edited by Andy Whitman

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My own response to the album is probably somewhere between Hajdu's and Andy's, but yes, he is clearly not getting the point of the lead single. Is it really THAT subtle?

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The first-ever Springsteen rap song.

I think it's a dud, myself, but thankfully it's not Springsteen himself rapping-- so it's hardly a disaster.

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The first-ever Springsteen rap song.

I think it's a dud, myself, but thankfully it's not Springsteen himself rapping-- so it's hardly a disaster.

I love the lyrics to this song. I'm less thrilled with the music. And I don't know if I'd call it "rap" either. It's more "spoken word," 'cause that's what Boring Earnest Old White Unhip Literate Farts (BEOWULF) do.

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I certainly like the SENTIMENT of the song. For me, the lyric is awfully, er, preachy, if you'll pardon the pun.

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Perhaps this would be better suited in an Elvis Costello thread, but here's EC and The Roots performing Bruce's "Brilliant Disguise" on Jimmy Fallon.

Brilliant Disguise

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I don't know about the album (haven't heard it yet), but I've enjoyed Bruce Springsteen week on Fallon this week. All the stuff from the new album sounded good, even capturing the interest of my dear wife. I'll definitely being giving this one a spin next week.

And last night's "E Street Shuffle" jam with Bruce, E Street, and The Roots (and Jimmy Fallon on cow bell) was pretty amazing.

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I offer a double-barreled dose of Broooce today,. with my review of Wrecking Ball, and a new monthly column in which I ponder Springsteen and the gospel. Both at Christianity Today Magazine.

That's great news, Andy! Congrats.

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I don't consider myself an Arcade Fire fan, but I've heard a couple of their CDs (several times) and find myself wondering if Chris Richards' comparison is accurate:

The first track on Bruce Springsteen’s new album gets stuck on rock-and-roll’s Mobius strip — that artistically perilous career lull when you sound like you’re ripping off the band that’s been ripping you off.

The song is called “We Take Care of Our Own,” and it finds the 62-year-old rock hero pantomiming the airy thump of Arcade Fire, a Canadian troupe than has aped Springsteen’s rousing song craft to great acclaim.

With the usual caveat that I haven't been paying close attention to the music scene for several years, would you Bruce (or Arcade Fire) fans buy that the two acts are similar ... in any way?

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