I am still circling the new Springsteen album, unwilling to write my review yet. But one thing I do know, I don't think he should have spent the album singing about financial woes.
Of all the comparisons you might make on this album, I think the closest might be The Rising. Like The Rising, Wrecking Ball has only one subject and that subject is a Great American Disasters.
The Rising is better lyrically, wrecking Ball is better musically.
But lyrically it is a dog and that’s because Bruce doesn't know what he is talking about: it is all big themes through wide lenses, and it is all flags waving on rocking ground as hard men face up to hard time. And, since he is profound democrat who loves the President, he can't hit out at the government, so he uses scattershot metaphors to try and blame … who? The banks.
In the end, the collapse of the American economy was a collusion between the Democrats and the Republicans. The Republicans responsible for the banks, the Democrats for the mortgages. But forget that. Even disagree with it. How does Springsteen blasting the banks help anybody. Who is he preaching to? Who is listening to him and saying "wow, he has a point there". Nobody, because his language is asinine because whether he cares or not, he doesn't know how to write about business and EVERYBODY knows what's going on.
And he brings to much baggage. Much more than when he was writing the vastly superior Darkness On The Edge Of Town. Being ten years removed from poverty is not the same as being FIFTY YEARS removed from poverty. My father was very rich and we lost it in the Lebanese Civil War. I can't remember what it was like not to worry about money.
And, frankly, Springsteen has no idea what it feels like to struggle. I find it irritating for this guy to keep on hammering home the obvious. Listen to Pulp's "Common People" -he is like the girl in that song. He wants to be a commoner, he wants to deal himself a hand at the table. And he can't. It isn't possible. He has to pretend, and that's OK, but when you can't remember you faultier on detail, when you're guessing it makes it so much harder.
My friend Steve Crawford mentioned he thought "Tunnel Of Love" was Bruce's best song. About the end of his marriage, Bruce has never written such clearly felt lyrics in his life. He got every feeling, right on the button.
For every thing right about Wrecking Ball, he gets the way the past four years have felt wrong. Because he just doesn't know. He is the John Kerry of rock and roll.