Bruce Springsteen - ‘Wrecking Ball’
By Eddy Lawrence
Current events, it seems, have made Bruce Springsteen angry again. Sometimes angry in the quietly bitter ‘Streets of Philedelphia’ sense, and at other times in the righteously furious ‘Born in the USA’ mode. It suits him, presenting him as a kind of Neil Young for the ‘Top Gear’ set. But there’s an added weariness to the the rage on ‘Wrecking Ball’ – Springsteen’s voice sounds more ragged than ever, reaching almost Tom Waitsian levels of gravel on slowie ‘This Depression’.
Throughout, the mood is sombre and the outlook bleak. But the record is never knowingly underplayed. Even the softer tracks are built on a muscular skeleton of booming drums and stacks of supporting guitar, string swells and synth parps. It’s a polished sound which plays perfectly in the omnidomes of America – rootsy, countrified rock with a dependably professional finish. But while the music might occasionally lose some freshness on its journey from the States, the general themes of things socio-economic not being very good for most people (but super freakin’ megaamazeballs for some) translate perfectly. The Celtic-inclined ‘Death to My Hometown’, for example, sounds a bit theme pub on this side of the Pond, but Springy still captures the attention with lyrics like ‘Send the robber barons straight to hell/The greedy thieves who came around and ate the flesh of everything they found… Who walk the streets as free men now’. It’s unlikely to win him a new audience, but it’s a prime slice of Springsteen as pissed-off-eldereveryman, a role in which he excels.
Listen to 'Wrecking Ball' on Spotify