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Key Tracks: “Wrecking Ball,” “This Depression,” “Rocky Ground”
The Boss is back and even more political than before. Legendary folk-rock singer/songwriter Bruce Springsteen is bolder than ever and not afraid to speak his mind about his beloved country with his 17th studio album, Wrecking Ball--a no-holds-barred raw record that packs a punch with the politics of the heartland. For the most part, Wrecking Ball is reminiscent of Springsteen’s iconic bare-boned sound. An infuriated Springsteen keeps up with the current economic turmoil and sneers disgustingly at Wall Street all while staying true to his humble American values.
Bruce has once again immortalized his musical capabilities both as a musician and as the leader of the American working class. The titular track, appropriately named “Wrecking Ball,” is a country-folk infused rebellious call to arms anthem; “If you think it’s your time / then step to the line / And bring on your wrecking ball.” Springsteen’s gritty vocals and stripped down guitar chords erupt into an instrumental infusion during the track’s chorus. Undoubtedly the best song on the record, it’s no wonder that good ole’ Bruce made it the star-spangled title track.
Springsteen’s voice of reason to his fellow Americans and his genuine passion for his country are strong enough to overcome any construction worker’s destructive machine. “Bring on your wrecking ball / Come on and take your best shot, let me see what you’ve got / Bring on your wrecking ball.” Who’s ready to take on The Boss now?
Occupy Wall Street protesters would be especially pleased to have Springsteen by their side with the economically-infused “This Depression,” “Death to My Hometown” and “Easy Money.”
In “This Depression,” Bruce’s scratchy vocals and stripped melodies allow him to kick down the fence of the melancholy anthem, slipping into mainstream agenda. “And I’ve always been strong / But I’ve never felt so weak.” The genuine spirit is there and the electric guitar solo is a refreshing addition and a salute to classic rock 'n' roll in the piece.
“Easy Money,” on the other hand, tells a tale about a desperate man turning to a life of crime in a time of financial downfall and turmoil. “We’re going on the town now / Looking for easy money,” ole’ Bruce howls in the accent of a country townie. Although the concept of this song is a powerful interpretation of the hardships faced by the poor and economically lower class citizens, the track sounds a bit mainstream and somewhat radio-friendly at times, but is still strong enough to prove his point.
The only song that steers in a completely different direction on the inevitable highway to achieving the American Dream is “Rocky Ground,” an eclectic compilation of soulful melodies and a gospel choir fresh out of the southern depths of the U S of A. Completely modernized from the nostalgic charm of Springsteen, the song oddly blends together well.
But wait, there’s more: a female rapper is featured near the end of the track! Bruce has a rapper? This rap piece is the only downfall to “Rocky Ground” since the rap doesn’t exactly flow with the song’s Biblical aesthetic and seems a bit out of context: ”You pray that hard times, hard times come no more / You try to sleep, you toss and turn, the bottom’s dropping out / Where you once had faith there’s only doubt.” Her rap just doesn’t seem to fit the rest of the tune’s mood. Otherwise, The Boss has found a way to blend his iconic rough-as-nails persona with a gleeful group of charming gospel accompaniers on his road to American redemption.
All in all, Bruce Springsteen still remains a true American legend and an American hero to many. Although flawed at times, the Boss’ newest release, Wrecking Ball, does reflect the current economic status and has some solid bare-boned, nitty-gritty tracks. Bruce is a force to be reckoned with; a true American idol who sings from the heart and soul--not from an auto-tuned microphone.
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