Friday, April 19, 2019

Album Review - American Beauty EP

On this day five years ago, Bruce Springsteen released the American Beauty EP.  Coinciding with Record Store Day, this was a collection of four songs that were considered for the High Hopes record, but ultimately didn't make the cut.  This EP went very under the radar - I don't believe we discussed it on this blog, nor has Springsteen played any of the songs live.  If you are a true Springsteen completist, feel free to go to Amazon and pick yourself up a copy.  However, if dropping $40 for four songs isn't your speed, please allow me to link you to each song, and hey, while you are here, read a few of my thoughts on each song.  

The first track is "American Beauty". Immediately, I get vibes of "Frankie Fell In Love" from High Hopes, so it is easy to see why this cut.  Also, Bruce is definitely singing strange on this track.  It sounds like he is going for a Jagger-esque sound, but sounds more like Little Stevie.

Next up is "Mary Mary" - if you thought Springsteen didn't use the name "Mary" enough in his songs, here he doubles it up.  Written during the Magic sessions, the strings remind me more of something from The Rising.  It's a solid song, but it definitely doesn't hide its demo-ness; the song seems to end mid-sentence.

"Hurry Up Sundown" was allegedly the closest to making High Hopes, and you can see why - it is the most classic "rocker" in the quartet.  Springsteen is double-tracked here, but to my ear it sounds more like there are dozens of Springsteen singing on this one.

Finally, there's "Hey Blue Eyes".  Another thin demo, this was written during the Working On A Dream sessions.  It may be a bit too dark and sexual for Working On A Dream's themes - it even drops another Springsteen f-bomb.

In the end, for as little fanfare as it received, there's really not a stinker here.  It is understandable that these were left on the cutting floor - too similar, too incomplete, too wrong thematic, etc.  However, for my money, the tracks themselves can hold there own among the later Springsteen Working On A Dream/Wrecking Ball/High Hopes catalog.

Thank you for reading about four songs from five years ago.

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