Monday, August 27, 2007
So last week, Springsteen enthusiasts such as myself finally recieved the long awaited confirmation that Bruce Springsteen had completed a new album with Producer Brendan O'Brien, and, as expected, it was a project with the E Street Band, who have served as his eyes and ears over his 35 year + career. The album is entitled "Magic," and it's supposed to be a return to the high energy rock n' roll of his earlier work with the E Street Band. I don't think Springsteen is capable of making another "The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle," or a "Greetings From Asbury Park." Those albums were so tied to the time and place in which they were written, and though they serve as timeless artifacts of a youthful enthusiasm rarely seen in today's mainstream, Springsteen has obviously grown up too much to make an album like that again. and no one is expecting him to, so it's fine. I can't help but assume his decision to make what manager Jon Landau has already called a "high energy rock album," unlike the adult contemporary feel of 2002's "The Rising," has everything to do with the recent resurgence in focus on the sheer genius of his earlier work, in great part due to the 30th Anniversary reissue of 1975's "Born To Run."
I had always been a basic Springsteen fan, but never realized how fucking incredible he was and is as a songwriter and performer until the 30th anniversary reissue came out. Pitchfork Media gave the release a 10/10, and Rolling Stone named Springsteen as a "Hot Influence" in their "Hot List" of the year or whatever, which doesn't necessarily reflect anything, but it certainly didn't hurt in making Springsteen hip again, or making it okay for all the closet Springsteen fans to come out of those dark, dark corners of the listening room. In many ways, the musical climate in which Springsteen found his popularity skyrocket is much like the way it is now. When "Born To Run" came out, a vast majority of important American musicians of the time had either choked on their own vomit, taken an extended vacation from recording, or were holed up in the backroom of the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, doing tons of coke with The Band. Today's generation is busy wondering where our Nirvana is, and the Music Industry isn't exactly making that process any easier. It is only logical that Springsteen's popularity would find a new home in a new generation of young listeners, in a period of such musical uncertainty.
Artists such as The Hold Steady and Jason Anderson, who take obvious, direct influence from the 1970's Springsteen catalogue, have also been enjoying immense success in the last year, particularly The Hold Steady, who made just about every Best Of list with their last album "Boys and Girls in America." Listening to "The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle" makes it gravely apparent that this album is probably the biggest influence on the resurgence of 70's wear-your-heart-on-your-sleeve rock n' roll highlighted by bands like The Hold Steady, and particularly apparent in vocalist Craig Finn's lyrical content, structure, and vocal stylings.
The influence of this earlier work became apparent when in late April, a tribute to Springsteen benefit concert for music education in New York City schools was arranged at Carnegie Hall. The finale of a Springsteen cameo/performance of the classic "Rosalita(Come Out Tonight)" with the entire fucking cast of performers(which included Jesse Malin, Badly Drawn Boy, Steve Earle, Josh Ritter, Holmes Brothers, etc.) where anyone onstage was invited to take one of the many verses featured in the song, provided evidence of Springsteen's continuing, vibrant influence on today's crop of young musicians teetering on the edge of mainstream success/indie credibility.
Several books have been written on Springsteen, regarding his lyrics, relationship to his obsessive fans, his portrayal of the American dream, etc., so I will stop here, but I am definitely excited to hear Springsteen try and re-visit his earlier days on E Street. While "The Rising" served its purpose of providing us with a portrait of American life in the post 9/11 political climate (and with politics the way they are these days, that album already seems outdated and no longer relevant), and "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions" gave new life to classic American folk songs, his last truly great album was 1987's "Tunnel Of Love." "Born In The U.S.A" was his last try at straight up rock n' roll. I am nervous about how this album will turn out, but I do have high hopes.
anyway, here is the cover of the album, and with that i leave you.
links to some stories/interviews about "Magic":Rolling Stone Album Details
Interview with Brendan O'Brien
feedback highly encouraged!!!!!