Wrecking BallAlbum |
Unspectacular but affirming bit of post-Obama Springsteen.
Ever since Born in the U.S.A., Bruce Springsteen has had a penchant for writing scathing protest songs that don't bitter at all to the untrained ear. His seventeenth studio album once again finds the storied songwriter venting his frustrations on current affairs with jubilant, Americana-influenced songs as the backdrop. In terms of his recent catalog, Wrecking Ball pulls the folk lyrics of Overcome: The Seeger Sessions with The Rising's slick studio treatment; it's the latter that gives the record trouble. Pop-leaning producer Ron Aniello (Barenaked Ladies, Guster) cakes on layers of gloss and session indulgences that bring songs like "Death to My Hometown" periously close to Dropkick Murphys territory. Still, though, this is post-Obama Springsteen we're talking about, and with the recent death of longtime saxophonist Clarence Clemons (who provided a pair of solos on the extravagant live staple "Land of Hope and Dreams"), the additional grandiosity isn't a deal breaker. "We Take Care of Our Own" sounds like a 2000s Springsteen lead single if there ever was one and the majority of the album will at the least translate to a summer stadium tour quite nicely. A classic Springsteen album this is not, but it's a hardy, life-affirming effort that helps erase the memory of 2010's underwhelming Working On a Dream.