This is the part where I put in my two cents. The official press release mentioned eleven new songs....well not exactly, it's more like nine new songs (plus one new bonus track) and two not so new -- Wrecking Ball was written in response to the tearing down of Giants Stadium and the Philly Spectrum during the '09 tour, but I think Bruce has probably reworked the lyrics to suit the theme of this album. It's a decent song, but here I hope it gets a 'major revamp', musically. Besides, the title has a nice ring to it: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Wrecking Ball World Tour -- sounds pretty kick-ass!
The other 'recycled' tune is Land Of Hope And Dreams, which was written way back in '98, performed heavily during the Reunion and Rising tours, and made a comeback during the last tour. No doubt it's one of the most significant Springsteen songs of the past twenty years, up there with Streets Of Philadelphia, The Rising, My City Of Ruins and Long Walk Home. It first appeared on Live In New York City, my gateway album into the world of Bruce (exactly ten years and counting!!) This upcoming studio version has been rumored to be the tribute to Clarence Clemons. I couldn't be happier by its inclusion, and if there's one show-closer I'm looking forward to hearing live this summer, it's this.
And finally, the first single, We Take Care Of Our Own. Somehow it reminds me of Working On A Dream (the song), but it's light years better. You still got that classic E Street melody, but at the same time it sounds fresh. Bruce sings in a low key, but you can feel something stirring up in him. There's a lotta stuff happening, lotta layers, quite expansive, like Born To Run expansive. Since it's the opening song I guess it'll set the tone for the rest of the record, and judging from the song titles and the sequence, we can expect it to get darker and then move back towards the light at the end.
So this song is good, not great, but will be in concert, and I have a feeling there will be better ones, more experimental ones, and more 'wow' moments. As for the lyrics, you have the American references, but the line "We take care of our own/Wherever this flag's flown" could possibly be applied universally. We Take Care Of Our Own explicitly highlights the importance of community. But then it can also be viewed as a negative, ironic statement i.e. politicians only protecting their own interests. That's the genius of Bruce as a songwriter. One look at the album cover and you can tell Wrecking Ball is gonna be a very edgy album, and I like that Bruce is still posing with his old Fender Esquire! So eleven songs, just the right number. Only seven more weeks!
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