Friday, March 30, 2012

Bruce for Beginners: OB's playlist

Even though I’ve never had to make a list for anyone like Rory and Steve did, I figured I would join in with my playlist as well.

1.  Thunder Road-  As Bruce said, about the song on his VH1 Stortellers, “It’s an invitation…we invite you to something, not sure what yet.”  It’s one of Bruce’s most well known songs and the perfect way to introduce someone to Bruce Springsteen.  This very well could be the definitive Springsteen song.

2.  The Rising- This is the song that re-introduced Bruce to myself and my generation.  We didn’t have to be around for Born to Run or Born In The USA.  We could claim this song, and the whole album, as ours.  As much as I love his classic stuff, this song will always be special to me.

3.  Night-  This up tempo rocker, is one of my favorites to play before I go out on a Friday night.  Yes, I really do listen to a song about going out, before I do.  Laugh if you want, but you’ll definitely be pumped for your next night out if you do it too.

4.  Downbound Train - Easily one of my top 5 songs, I absolutely love this song.  A great opening guitar riff, pounding drums, and some of Bruce’s best lyrics is an easy formula for a Springsteen Classic.  Mandatory listening.

5.  The River-  Ever wonder where Bruce got his reputation as an excellent storyteller?  It’s from this song.  I used to think this was the definitive Springsteen song, but it’s just not rocking enough to truly show off all of Bruce‘s skills.  Still easily one of my favorites though, and if you wanted to explain to my why this is his best song, I won’t argue too much

6.  Born to Run-  Do you really have to ask why?  It’s one of the most iconic rock songs of all time.  And as much as I can do without some of his other pop hits (“Dancing In The Dark“, I’m looking at you) I never get sick of this song. And as cliché as it may sound, this song is truly the anthem for New Jersey’s youth.

7. The Way-  A song that only recently was released on The Promise, and even then as a hidden track.  This slow-paced song has what I consider to be Bruce’s most romantic lyrics.  It may take a few listens to appreciate but I think you will agree that it belongs on this play list.  It’s very simple, yet you can feel the sincerity and power in this ballad.

8.  Candy's Room- Alright enough mushy sentimental crap.  Let’s get down to a song we all want to hear,  A hard rocking, heavy hitting song about being in love with a hooker.  I love intro of softly spoken lyrics leading into a huge crescendo of the band kicking in and Bruce providing us with another classic.  Also one of Bruce’s shortest songs, but try not to get pumped up listening to this song.  Go ahead, you won’t be able to.

9.  Tougher Than the Rest - I know I just said “The Way” was his most romantic song.  And it is.  But those are idealistic, fantasy lyrics.  This song is the real deal.  Pain, passion, but above all else commitment.  In particular him singing this live with his wife Patti, makes for a particularly moving song.

10.  Atlantic City-  I had to decide which version of this song to include, live or studio.  They are 2 totally different songs.  Not lyrically, that way they are identical.  But like most songs from Nebraska or The Ghost Of Tom Joad, when Bruce plays those songs live with the E Street Band, it’s a totally different song musically.  I decided to go with the original acoustic version, but you can’t go wrong with either one.

11.  No Surrender- I never used to consider this song one of my favorites until recently.  I always thought it was good , but he had better songs.  But as one grows older and realizes they can’t hold on to the past anymore, this song takes on a special meaning.  Rather than being a depressing song about getting old, Bruce instead wrote about feeling nostalgic but still forging ahead.

12. Unsatisfied Heart-  I I covered this song fairly well in a previous post.  I really wish this song was more well known.

13.  Darkness On The Edge Of Town-  If you don’t like this song you’re an idiot.  It’s beautiful and it’s powerful.  When Bruce was honored by being inducted into the Kennedy Center, “Born On The Fourth of July” author Ron Kovic gave an incredible introduction that will tell you all you need to know about this one.

14. Leap Of Faith -  Although most fans agree that Bruce’s non-E Street albums pale in comparison, there are still some great songs on there.  This song is definitely one of the great ones.  I’d like to see this brought out more often on the live concerts, just to switch it up a bit.

15.  Out In The Streets- Definitely one of the most fun songs to hear live.  Not every Bruce song has to be introspective or thought-provoking.  Some are just good old-fashioned fun rock and roll.  If you’re going to see Bruce on his upcoming tour and lucky enough to hear this gem live, you’ll know why I included this.

16.  Death To My Hometown-  I know what you’re thinking “What?  OB!!!  Surely you’re not including something off his brand new album as something that would be mandatory listening to understanding Bruce Springsteen, are you?” You’re damn right I am!  This is my favorite song on the new album, and although I don’t know how much longer Bruce will continue to tour, I’d like to see this remain in the setlist beyond this tour.

16.  Incident On 57th Street-  It’s my favorite Springsteen song, and although I’ve never been fortunate enough to hear this one live, I’m hoping that will change on the upcoming tour.  This song is everything that is Bruce Springsteen, it’s a love song, it’s got kick-ass guitar soloing to make it rock, it tells a story, but more than anything it sings about hope.  At least I think it does, and it’s my favorite.

I hope you have enjoyed reading our playlists.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Springsteen Lyric Of The Week- Jungleland

"And in the quick of the night they reach for their moment, and try to make an honest stand.  But they wind up wounded, not even dead.  Tonight in Jungleland"- "Jungleland", Born To Run

"Jungleland" is different from every other song on Born To Run.  Not just because of its length, or Clarence's amazing solo, but because of the way it ends.  Born To Run tells the story of rebellion, youth energy, and above all else freedom.  From the invitation to come along for the ride in "Thunder Road," the realization of freedom in the titular song, and then finally the struggle to keep that freedom and spirit in "Jungleland."  It's a story of being on our own.  Being away from your parents, school, and work and instead embracing friendship, love, and life. It's the war we face between doing what want and doing what we have to.  

And of course, youthful energy triumphs, right?  Nope, they lost the battle.  But hey at least they gave it their all, and will be immortalized for dying in glorious battle, right?  Wrong again. "They wound up wounded, not even dead."  And that's what makes this song different from the rest of the album.  In the end, they lost. And had to face their defeat, as opposed to if they had died in battle.

Listen to the whole album.  Every other song is about experiencing what we want and it contradicting our obligations of what we have to do.  But in the end, the free spirit and desire triumph.  Except in "Jungleland."

Bruce would go on to later explore this theme of Freedom vs Responsibility much more in his next album, the incredible, Darkness On The Edge Of Town.  I think it's very fitting that "Jungleland" ends Born to Run and sets the tone for Darkness.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Springsteen Video of the Week - I'm Goin' Down

Who doesn't love a good Bruce tale?  While the picture quality is very poor in this video, the stoy Bruce provides highly makes up for it.  Normally, in his extended speeches before songs, Springsteen will turn to his childhood and upbringing for inspiration.  However, in this video, he takes a more comedic route.  I'm always leary when a musician tries his hand at comedy, as the laughs often are strained or groaned.  However, the little speech before "I'm Going Down" is simple, relatable, and chuckle-inducing.  Like Bruce, I'll dedicate this post to all you lovers out there. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Chris "Mad Dog" Russo Lights Up E Street Radio

Storytelling.  It is the essence of Springsteen's appeal.  His songs create vivid characters in dire circumstances and emotional states.  The hallmark of his live performances are his personal stories, which range from absurd, humorous tales to genuinely poignant moments between his parents and himself.  His stories span generations and have earned him a legion of fans across the globe.

But then, there are other stories.  There are stories so mundane and perplexing that you have no idea why the person is talking to you.  However, it is the enigmatic nature of these tales that draws you in, as you are wondering if the storyteller has a point, or is just a rambling lunatic.  These are the stories Chris "Mad Dog" Russo provided when he hosted E Street Radio earlier this month.

Have you often found yourself wondering how Spencer Tracy relates to "Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street"?  Or perhaps you'd be interested to know how a story about the Phillies winning the pennant is an introduction to the song "Wreck On The Highway".  Russo's introductions take many twists and turns, and create many laughs and groans along the way.  I would highly recommend taking nine minutes to listen to the video above, and enjoy hearing how he makes connections from the ordinary things in his life to his favorite Springsteen songs.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Springsteen Lyrics of the Week - Racing in the Street

"Some guys they just give up living
And start dying little by little, piece by piece
Some guys come home from work and wash up
And go racin' in the street"
- Racing in the Street, Darkness on the Edge of Town

In my time as a Springsteen fan, I've digested a lot of opinions from other music experts on his work.  Two works I would recommend are Bruce Springsteen and Philosophy, and the second DVD of Bruce Springsteen Road Trip.  One song that is frequently analyzed in both books is the above-quoted "Racing in the Street".  This song has never been a particular favorite of mine, but the spotlighted lines are some of Bruce's best.

This verse describes what people may do in terrible situations.  There are many courses of action one can take when the world is piling garbarge on their life, but Bruce only describes two here.  One is just internalizing the sadness, giving up and letting it destroy the soul.  The other option is to go "racing in the street"; to throw yourself into the woefulness of it all with a "devil-may-care" attitude and embrace the misery.  Curiously, the option of fighting back and making a change is missing here, but I've chosen to interpret that these circumstances are not of one's own doing, but rather of outside forces that one cannot control.

Funnily enough, it wasn't any major tragedy in my life that inspired this post; it was disgust with the management of a professional sports team I follow.  Years of fandom has grinded at my soul, but I am not a participant in the team's decision-making process at all; there is nothing I can do to rectify the situation.  So, rather than letting the losses kill me piece-by-piece, I'm just going to buckle up and try to enjoy the ride.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Springsteen Video of the Week - Code of Silence

This song was a regular concert opener for the 1999 Reunion Tour with the E Street Band.  With the upcoming release of Wrecking Ball, a few songs that had only been performed live are finally getting recorded and put on albums.  I'm kind of surprised this was left out.  It's a hard rocking tune that absolutely speaks to the theme of the upcoming album.

As much as I am a fan of Bruce Springsteen, I do happen to see things different from Bruce when it comes to politics.  However, I think that's what makes Bruce's music so universal.  Bruce sings about problems in society, and although we have different opinions on how to solve them, we agree that they must be addressed.  This song talks about the need to address these problems, and I would not at all be surprised to hear Bruce play this on his upcoming tour.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Quick Takes - Apollo Theater Concert 3/9/12

Sadly, we weren’t the lucky few who won tickets to the Wrecking Ball tour warm-up at the Apollo Theater sponsored by Sirius XM last week. While we weren’t able to rub elbows with Tom Hanks and Elvis Costello or witness Bruce proclaim himself the “hardest working white man in show business,” we did the next best thing – drink beer and listen to the concert in surround sound.

My first reaction to the concert: slightly underwhelmed. But only because Bruce sets the bar so high. I know I’ve been spoiled by his 3 hour plus concerts, but his Apollo Theater set felt disconcertingly abridged. It was great to hear so much from Wrecking Ball, I was really saddened that they didn’t include anything from The Promise.

There were some highlights though: a cover of Sam & Dave’s “Hold On I’m Comin’,” Bruce’s homage to the legends who had previously performed on the stage, and the screeching halt of a tribute to Clarence during “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out” (as fellow editor Rory put it, “I can’t wait to clap along in person.”)

But even so, I didn’t feel blown away, as I have become expectant to feel. Then I read Vulture’s first-hand review of the concert and I remembered just how visual a Bruce show is: the facial expressions, the band members’ interactions, Bruce’s sweat. After reading the article, April 3 at the Izod Center can’t come soon enough.

If you don't read the full Vulture article, at least read their closing paragraph:

As the audience stumbled out onto 125th Street postshow and buses lined up to deliver the suburbanites to Penn Station and Grand Central, I found myself wondering how many people think of a Bruce Springsteen gig when recalling the best night of their lives. He’s built a career commodifying that big, warm, generous feeling of going out hard on a Friday night, after you’ve gotten paid and before the reality of Saturday chores sinks in. Forty years in, business is as good as it’s ever been.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Wrecking Ball is #1 on Billboard Top 200

Congratulations to Bruce Springsteen for claiming the top spot on Billboard with Wrecking Ball. Bruce finally unseated Adele's 21 from the number one spot. Nothing against Adele, one or more of the editors of Legends of Springsteen may own her album, but we're delighted that Bruce was able to claim top spot for the 10th time in his career - even if it was close.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Springsteen Lyrics of the Week - Glory Days

“Think I’m going down to the well tonight
And I’m gonna drink till I get my fill”
- Glory Days, Born in the U.S.A.

In one of Bruce’s songs where the narrator is more self-aware than usual, this line always strikes me as the pathetic comment of a sad sack whose life is passing him by. Ironically, the lyrics have also been adopted as a rally cry for countless drunkards on Friday nights for the past 20 years.

Like so many of Bruce’s songs, the upbeat tone and fast rhythm mask the downbeat lyrics and people frequently misinterpret this song as a fond remembrance of the good ol’ teenage days when it’s really about failing to seize the day because you’re too busy thinking about the past with rosy-tinted glasses.

Bruce does his bit to foster the misappropriation with his “Come on boys, keep it rockin’ now” riffing as the music fades out. Which raises a question, for another post, does Bruce make his songs too easy to misinterpret?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Springsteen Video of the Week - One Headlight

OB's wondeful two-part article about the best covers of Springsteen and by Springsteen got me thinking of another category of Bruce songs - duets.  This video above, from the 1997 MTV Music Video Awards, is by far my favorite Boss duet.  Bill Simmons frequently talks about this clip, citing it as the moment of Bruce getting his "mojo" back.  After a few dud albums in the early 90s, Bruce was at his nadir of popularity.  However, when rocking out with Jakob Dylan, you can see him slowly morphing back into the beast he was in the previous decade.  This is one version of the song that I really wished they released as a single. 
Do you have a favorite Bruce duet that you think can top this?  Let me know in the comments!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Bruce for Beginners - Steve's Playlist

For the second entry in our series of Bruce for Beginners playlists, I’m sharing a list I sent a friend who became a fan after he heard “Happy” played at my wedding (which means that my marriage is unequivocally a success). My list isn’t representative of his entire discography but it attempts to sample his many modes and styles.

1. Livin' In The Future – Magic
I decided to open with a more recent track, one that captures all the rock n’ roll fun but is easily digestible without long instrumental sections. It’s also not as popular as "Radio Nowhere," "The Rising," or "Working on a Dream" so it feels fresh but also in line with pre-conceived notions of Bruce Springsteen’s music.

2. Bobby Jean – Born in the U.S.A.
Similar thought process here, keep the energy up with a track from a popular album but a song you don’t hear on the radio. Also, it introduces his trademark sadness while still keeping you rocking out.

3. Downbound Train – Born in the U.S.A.
Continuing along those lines, we feel more pain and acquaint ourselves with Bruce’s songs of futility and depression.

4. The Promised Land – Darkness on the Edge of Town
More sadness but at least you can commiserate with the dogs on Main Street.

5. Reason to Believe – Nebraska
Slow it down a bit to introduce Bruce’s folk side and his ability to go minimalist.

6. The River – The River
It’s a bit early to be going sad Bruce back-to-back but "The River" is a must-listen. If you want to be a Bruce fan, you have to let him break your heart.

7. Rosalita – The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle
Tracks 5, 6, and 7 are the testing ground of the playlist, they’re all a bit challenging (even though it’s fun, "Rosalita" is seven minutes long) but this triptych gives you distilled insight into everything you need to know about Bruce.

8. Lucky Town – Lucky Town
I’ve been a fan of this song since I first heard it during the opening credits of the forgotten Eric Bana poker movie, Lucky You.

9. Ain't Good Enough For You – The Promise (Disc 2)
Bruce knows how to rock in any decade; here he is at his most raw and carefree.

10. I'm Goin' Down – Born in the U.S.A.
Forever one of my favorite Bruce songs. Even though it’s about a soured relationship, I can’t help but smile every time I hear it.

11. All I'm Thinkin' About – Devils & Dust
Now a very different sound for Bruce that gives a taste of his range. It’s an uncanny song somewhere between Beautiful Bruce and Folk Bruce.

12. Nothing Man – The Rising
With the preparation of track 11, we go deep into Beautiful Bruce.

13. Sad Eyes – Tracks (Disc 4)
More soulful crooning with a ‘90s beat.

14. Lonesome Day – The Rising
This is the song that first fostered my Bruce obsession. Everything in life seems all right when Bruce tells you so.

15. Janey Don't You Lose Heart – Tracks (Disc 3)
What a chorus. Here’s another song that offers encouragement through the hard times, but does it in a subdued, confident manner.

16. Backstreets – Born to Run
“But I hated him, and I hated you when you went away.”

17. Thundercrack – Tracks Disc 1
Bruce’s greatest instrumental bridge. It’s not as accessible as "Rosalita" so I’ve saved it for the end but everyone in the band is rocking as hard as they can and you should too.

Stay tuned for OB’s Bruce for Beginners playlist and read Rory’s here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Springsteen Lyrics of the Week - Nebraska

"They wanted to know why did what I did
Well sir, I guess there's just a meanness in this world"
- Nebraska, Nebraska
Although the song is about the infamous serial killer Charles Starkweather, the closing lines seem to relate to any tragedy that has occurred.  In these situations, we often struggle to find answers, and more often than not there doesn't seem to be a clear cut answer. 
Springsteen sings this song in a flat, intentionally uninspired voice from the point of view of Starkweather.  With another line in the song stating that he is unrepentant for his actions, it confirms that there are some actions that we just can't understand.  Although it is an unpleasant thought, this song acknowledges the fact that some people are capable of evil that we cannot comprehend. 
Although despair and even tragedy are not foreign to Springsteen's song writing, in most of these songs there is an underlying message of hope.  "Nebraska", on the other hand, has no hope, no silver lining, no positive message at all.  Most of the songs on Nebraska have a dreary, bleak message, but none more than the titular song.  Even writing this entry has been depressing.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Happy Wrecking Ball Day

All of us here at Legends of Springsteen would like to wish all of you out there a very happy Wrecking Ball Day.  We've already provided quick takes for every song, but now we get to listen to it as a whole and digest Bruce's latest effort.  Personally, I'm leaning towards giving a B+ or 7 out of 10 or 261 stars out of 360 stars, but I feel that it is better to hold off and soak in the album a couple of times before giving it a final say.  Look for our reviews later this month.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Springsteen Video of the Week - Eric Church, “Springsteen”

Although I’m in no way an authority on country music, I can at least say I’ve heard of Eric Church before.  I even have a few of his songs on my iPod.  This is easily my new favorite country song, if for no other reason, just the title of this song.  But even without the brilliant name, I am still a fan of Eric Church’s “Springsteen”.

Bruce shares a lot in common with country artists.  I’m not surprised to learn at all that Bruce Springsteen was a major influence on many country artists.  I remember a few years back during the Country Music Awards, Keith Urban performed a cover of “The Rising”.  But country musicians are known and beloved by their fans for their ability to connect to fans while telling a story through their music.  In my opinion, no one does that better than Bruce Springsteen, so it’s easy to see why he would be so idolized by them.  

Church does a fantastic job of telling a story of how listening to certain Springsteen songs reminds him of his former love.  Listening to Bruce’s music always brings up feelings of nostalgia for me, whether it’s listening to “Born to Run” and remembering the freedom I felt when I first got my driver’s license or hearing songs like “Long Walk Home” and reflecting on my upbringing in North Jersey.  Even certain love songs, in particular “Tougher Than The Rest”, remind me of certain flames I once had for certain girls, whom shall remain nameless.  Bruce has the undeniable ability to connect to his audience through his music.  By doing this, he’s created an entire career for himself and made legions of fans including Steve, Rory, myself, and apparently Eric Church as well.  

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Quick Takes - We Are Alive

I'd like to withhold any definitive judgements until I've had some more time to disgest the whole album, but this might be my favorite song.  It easily sports some of Bruce's best lyrics, creating wonderful imagery of the protests and troubles that the United States has gone through in its rich history.  Musically, it borrows from "Ring of Fire", in the same way that "Outlaw Pete" borrows from "I Was Made For Loving You".  Despite this quibble, the song's message is very powerful.  It reminds us that there have always been difficult times, but the spirit of goodness will always survive. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Quick Take - Land of Hope and Dreams

When I first read the track list I was disappointed to see "Land of Hope and Dreams" and "Wrecking Ball" included because I wanted to hear new Bruce songs. Even though there are already versions of "Land of Hope and Dreams" available on the Live in New York City album and the Essential Bruce Springsteen, I’m happy about its inclusion on Wrecking Ball. The lyrics really resonate in this version and the backup vocals add poignancy. And as Blogness on the Edge of Town notes, you really can’t begrudge its inclusion when you hear Clarence’s saxophone come through one last time.

Bruce For Beginners - Rory's Playlist

Loyal readers, I have some bad news to share with you.  I hope you are sitting down.  Ready?  OK, here goes:

Some people don't listen to Bruce Springsteen.

You still with me?  Shocking, I know.  It is especially true amongst the millennial generation.  The burden is on us, the loyal Bruce die-hards, to keep the legacy alive.  Now, I don't recommend strapping non-Bruce fans down Clockwork Orange-style and forcing them to listen to his discography continuously for a month (although I don't speak for all the editors of this blog).  The best solution would be to create a simple playlist to give help newcomers ease into the Boss's vast catalog.  I recently created one for my girlfriend, and I think I did a fairly good job of it if I do say so myself.  I decided to use one song from pretty much all Bruce musical eras.  The playlist ended up looking like this:
This song is captures Bruce's early career perfectly.  The lyrics are all over the place, as it shows the youthful ambition of Bruce, trying to cram a little too many ideas into one song. 
As mentioned in High Fidelity, the second song on any compilation has to kick it up a notch from the first song.  Duly noted, Mr. Hornby.  I think "Rosalita" fulfills the notch-kicking requirement.
One of my all-time favorites from the early Bruce years.  As Bruce said when introducing this song at a concert I saw him at several years ago, "This used to be our show-stopper when there was nobody there to stop the show."
I know it is fun to impress people with some obscure or underrated songs, but sometimes, you've just got to stick with the classics.  One of the first full Bruce albums my girlfriend downloaded after listening to this playlist was Born To Run.  I approve. 
Darkness is my favorite Springsteen album, and this track was one of the first Bruce songs I fell in love with back in high school. 
I couldn't help myself from putting two Darkness songs on here. This song has a soft spot in my heart for the ridiculous pantomiming I do during it.  
Is this a taste of new Bruce, or a taste of old Bruce?  This song is very tough to categorize.  Either way, are we all in agreement that The Promise disc two is superior to disc one?  Perhaps a topic for another blog post.  
The River doesn't have a lot of my favorite tunes, but, like the previous song, this is a quick, catchy ditty that shows that, around this time, Bruce was an automatic.  He could crank out three-minute hits in his sleep. 
Not The River version, but the "Beautiful Bruce" version from Tracks.  At this point in the mix, I'm bringing it down a little.  They can't all be hand-clappers and boot-stompers!
Whenever somebody asks me my all-time favorite Bruce song, I can never give them a straight answer.  At one point, it was "Rosalita".  At another point, it was "Thunder Road".  The one thing I can say is that "Atlantic City" has always been in my top five.  I've never been burnt out on this song. 
This is one of the most accessible songs for new Bruce fans, as it is one that sounds the most modern.  I hear a lot of current bands basing their style off of this Bruce hit.  This song became my girlfriend's favorite Bruce song after listening to this mix. 
Probably not the best song to put on a CD for your girlfriend, but whatever.  I couldn't do slower songs forever.  It's fun as hell and a damn great song.  Sorry for swearing like a hell damn ass king, but this song gets me pumped ever time I hear it.
Here I was, trying to be all-romantic-like.  Feel free to insert your favorite song from Tunnel of LoveHuman Touch, or Lucky Town in this spot. 
The Rising, in general, is a great album to start a new Bruce fan off with.  It was extremely influential to all three of your Legends of Springsteen editors.  This is my favorite track off the album. 
I wanted to represent Devils & Dust on this CD, but at this point, I didn't want anything too slow or depressing.  Plus, you get to hear Bruce say "Fuck!"  What a bad-ass. 
This is a fun track from an album that has grown on me more and more over the last six years.  Plus, it is important for the new Bruce fans to see Bruce's influences. 
Magic was stunning to me when it was released.  I couldn't believe an artist, so late into his career, could write an album this good.  "Livin' In The Future" is a fantastic track that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Bruce's greatest hits. 

And....that's all from me.  Stay tuned as both Steve and OB weigh in with their choices for beginning Bruce fans.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Quick Take - "Rocky Ground"

On first listen to “Rocky Gound” it sounds like a song that was leftover from The Rising.  And it was left off for good reason.  It just leaves a lot to be desired.  There isn’t much to speak of musically as it’s mostly drum and piano.  The lyrics are almost too “Bruce-esque”  if that makes sense.  The clear struggle of the working class, religious imagery, and social unbalance have been commonplace in Bruce’s past songs, especially on this album.  There’s just nothing that sets this apart from other songs.

Then comes the ending of the song, with a “hip-hop influenced” verse, as it was described in the previews.  I absolutely hate it.  I respect that Bruce is trying to branch off and try new influences but this was a big swing and a miss.  I hope that he doesn’t try it again.

The best part about Wrecking Ball, as an album, it seems like most of the songs will go over big as part of a live show.  Even a song like “Rocky Ground”, that I’m not too crazy about, I can definitely see being sang along with in packed arenas on the upcoming tour.

By the way, does anyone know who the female singer is in the chorus to the sound?  Definitely does not sound like Soozie Tyrell or Patti.