The Boss released Wrecking Ball on Wednesday. The album is his 17th studio effort, and he has managed to bring it just as hard as ever with what has been touted as his “angriest album yet.”
Springsteen melds his traditional story telling and signature sound with a blend of sounds from around the world ranging from gospel, to hints of country, to a heavy dose of Irish influence. The 40 year veteran brings us an album in his brand of Americana that contrasts the American Dream to the American reality. At 62 years of age, Springsteen’s voice has gained a timber that evokes himself as a campfire elder delivering his rock n roll sermons in the ruins of what might of been.
Despite the variety of styles you will find through out the 11 tracks on the album, they are assembled into a coherent master work that you will find unique from Springsteen’s previous efforts. The one track which is slightly out of place is “Depression.” It seems a relic from bygone days painted over with the palette of this album. My early favorite is “Death To My Hometown.” The song brings together tones of folk, irish dance, African tribal song, and the angry voice of a man whose home has been destroyed not by war, but corporate greed.
The bonus tracks, only available on the Deluxe Edition, may have found their proper place outside of the album proper. “Swallowed Up (In The Belly Of The Whale)” is a dark, somber track that, though worthy in its own right, stands out as a tale of woe and defeat rather than angry defiance. You may think you’ve skipped off to Ireland to fire up The Pogues when “American Land” hits. While lyrically a true piece of Springsteen’s Americana, the track could easily find a home on Rum, Sodomy and the Lash. “American Lands” comes off as a taproom sing-a-long that.
Wrecking Ball has established itself among my favorite efforts from The Boss, if only for it’s stark contrast to all that came before.
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