First off, let me start by saying that I absolutely love the idea of releasing a song per day. The album is going to get leaked anyway, at least this way Bruce has somewhat control over it, while still being able to build anticipation. [Editor’s Note: It pretty much got leaked anyway, but at least Bruce is sticking to it.]
“Shackled and Drawn” sounds like a leftover track from the Seeger Sessions album, and I mean that in a good way. While I don’t think it’s a great song, it’s certainly good and seems like it’ll be a really fun song to see performed live. Lots of clapping hands and stomping feet and a really easy chorus makes it all but a certainty that this song will be played regularly on the upcoming tour.
However, just because the chorus is simple doesn’t mean the lyrics aren’t relevant. The clear allusions to slavery and injustice are abundant. All previews of Wrecking Ball said this was Bruce’s most political and angry album to date, and so far it has met that expectation. The three songs released, in addition to the three that have been played live in the past, all seem to contain angry and politically motivated lyrics. In addition they have been ironically set to mostly upbeat, catchy tunes that can easily override the meaningful lyrics, reminiscent of “Born In The USA” being mistakenly categorized as a patriotic song upon its release. And I think that’s what Bruce is aiming for here. Get the song stuck in your head, sing it to yourself, and then realize just what the song means.