Springsteen Goes Emo, Releases “Wrecking Ball”


Some albums are not just released, they are unveiled.  They change the way we think, reshape what we know and become the very soundtrack of our lives.  Bruce Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball” is not one of those albums.  “The Boss” has a familiar tone and style to most of his music, and has maintained that style for the better part of close to 40 years, and that is obviously a very respectable run.  A good majority of music lovers may or may not admit to liking more than a few of Springsteen’s songs, and I’m no different.  As a kid, I always liked “Darlington County” for some unknown reason.

That being said, I was more than a bit interested to hear Springsteen’s latest, because initial rumors listed the album as more “edgy and dark”, than most of the artist’s former work.  Let me be the first to report, that assessment is way, way off.  There are very few initial reviews of the album, so I’m glad to be one of the first to tell you like it is, much as we always do, here on The ThrowDown.

The album is pretty much what you’d expect from a Springsteen album, except this one has an excessive use of the tambourine and seems to have more marches.  Yes, I said marches.  So many that I can actually sing “The Yellow Rose of Texas” over plenty of the selections.  The title track “Wrecking Ball” was more of Springsteen’s folky rock and decent enough, but things went down quickly.  As much as I’d heard about Bruce being “mad as Hell!”, and “pissed off rock and roll!”, I was completely unimpressed.  Sorry, but a man with roughly 200 million in the bank singing about banks ripping people off just doesn’t make sense to me.  It really becomes just a “get off my lawn” theme.  Edgy?  Dark?  No.  Trust me, Springsteen fans…Bruce isn’t about to turn into Glen Danzig anytime soon.  Not that Springsteen fans would know who Danzig was, anyway.

Where I really started to check out on the album were tracks like “Shackled and Drawn”, or the just plain weird “We Are Alive”, and I don’t mean that in a Steve Vai, weird is good way.  While on the subject of guitarists, full-time Joe Satriani wannbe Tom Morello, famous from his Rage Against the Machine days, makes an appearance on the album, and his out solo at the end of “Jack of All Trades” can be performed pretty much by any guitarist with two working hands.  Not to mention that the very same song is close enough to R.E.M’s “Everybody Hurts” for lawsuit material.

The track that seemed to be decent material was “This Depression”, which is solid enough for most loyal fans, but still isn’t what I would call groundbreaking.  Truthfully, most of the album’s tracks are just fodder for new truck commercials or men’s work shirts.  With that being said, I think it’s great that a 63-year-old man can still produce music, but honestly, it’s music that I’d give to my 60-year-old uncle for his birthday.  Fans that want the E-Street sound will be disappointed, since they aren’t really there, save for the last Clarence Clemons solo, and new fans will just hear a musician that isn’t really challenging himself, musically.

As for Springsteen being the voice of the working man, I’ll pass, thanks.  I’m perfectly capable of being my own voice.

“Wrecking Ball” goes nationwide on March 6th.


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