March 23, 2012, 9:33 amI didn’t download Bruce Springsteen’s new album-- I wanted the old school experience of buying the cd and reading the lyrics straight from the jacket. I’d heard from friends that “Wrecking Ball” needed to be listened to in its entirety, absorbed like “The Rising” or “Magic,” albums that clearly defined our times and deserved our attention.
There’s a kind of reverence I pay Springsteen anyway, because I’ve
always felt like The Boss consistently accomplishes a musical coup—the
kind where you’re singing and dancing along and suddenly realize you are
in heavy political territory.
So does he deliver? “Easy Money” targets Wall Street fat cats, “Death To my Hometown” reminds us that the painful recession of 2008 is nothing new, but a depressing event that happens again and again in America, when greed and corruption run unchecked and the working man gets screwed. And “We Take Care of our Own” is posing an important question—does the American dream still exist?
The first half of “Wrecking Ball” is a sobering gut check, kind of like reading Matt Taiibbi of Rolling Stone Magazine. You know he’s right and you feel hopeless to change the system. But here’s where Taibbi and Springsteen part ways. Stick with the album and you’ll see how Springsteen offers songs in the spirit of redemption. Listen to “Jack of All Trades” and “Rocky Ground” and you’ll hear voices of hope, the voices of change.
“We are Alive” and “Land of Hope and Dreams” include themes Springsteen has obsessed over for most of his life. Lucky us that he delivers the questions in hand raising, foot stomping waves of hope. This is where Springsteen always prevails--yes, we’ve been beaten, yes we’ve been hit , but together, we will endure.
~ Sheila Hamilton