Bruce Springsteen is one of the few artists who can make an album that sounds paradoxically familiar and fresh. “Wrecking Ball” fits nicely into those categories. It contains all the elements that made Springsteen “The Boss” many years ago.
Thematically, unless you have been living under a musical rock you know that the target of Springsteen’s ire is the financial mess perpetrated by Wall Street bankers. While some critics have been quick to note that Springsteen is wealthy and great artist who draws from all his life experiences to write a great song. In this case Springsteen is no exception; if he is disingenuous (which I sincerely doubt) he has done a brilliant job faking it.
One could dedicate a volume of material to analyzing Springsteen’s lyrics, and most critics have already done that. In musical terms, “Wrecking Ball” is simply a great listen. It features members of the E Street Band but it is definitely a Springsteen solo album with subtle hints of E Street flavor.
The three most accessible songs are the first single, “We Take Care of Our Own,” “Land of Hope and Dreams,” and the title cut. “Land of Hope and Dreams,” features a classic solo from the late Clarence Clemons that jumps right out of the mix. In between there are plenty of great musical moments that are interesting musically, and sound fantastic sonically.
The deluxe edition features the bonus track “American Land,” a track that has a heavy Celtic influence, and one of my favorite tracks. Fans of Springsteen will love this album, but even marginal fans should find plenty to enjoy. Thankfully, Springsteen continues to put out top quality studio efforts when many of his peers abandoned studio albums years ago.