Bruce Springsteen
The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle


4.5
superb

Review

by Adam Thomas STAFF
March 4th, 2009 | 28 replies


Release Date: 1973 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Now I know your mama she don't like me 'cause I play in a rock and roll band and I know your daddy he don't dig me but he never did understand

Bruce Springsteen is an American legend. He's made a near 40 year career out of capturing the essence of Americana. Songs like "Rosalita", "Born to Run", and "Glory Days", not only offer an endearing cross-section of the American dream, they encapsulate a youthful vigor and joie de vivre that resonates across the generational divide. Thirty-six years after first making waves with Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J., The Boss is just as popular as ever. In this decade alone, New Jersey's native son and his E Street Band have had four consecutive albums debut at number one on the charts, tour after tour grossing in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and earlier this year they performed at the Super Bowl XLIII halftime show.

Its almost hard to believe, but despite Springsteen's domination of the American music scene for the last 30 years his career had a rocky start. After being signed to Colombia records in 1972, the then 22 year old Bruce Springsteen released his debut album, Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J., in January of 1973. While his mix of hometown folk-swagger with blues rock garnered him instant Dylan comparisons, the positive reviews didn't translate to sales, as it only sold 25,000 copies in its first year of release. Some 9 months later, The Boss and his then unnamed E-Street band, released The Wild, The Innocent, & The E-Street Shuffle. Like his debut, it was released to critical acclaim and slow sales.

The Wild, The Innocent, & The E-Street Shuffle saw the folksier tendencies of Greetings... put on the back burner in favor of a grand fusion of nostalgic Rock 'n' Roll and soulful R&B. This fit seamlessly with the fiery youth of the inner city characters that Springsteen had decided to mold his album around. When taken in as a whole, The Wild, The Innocent, & The E-Street Shuffle, with its care free sense of cool, abundant attitude, and youthful energy, is the musical equivalent of The Fonz.

“The E-Street Shuffle” starts off the album of its name sake awash in heavy funk. A boogieing clavichord and uproarious sax set the background for a rough and tumble tale of young punks, cute girls, run ins with the law, and teenage love. Lyrically, Springsteen is at the top of his game. Lines like “Them schoolboy pops pull out all the stops on a Friday night / The teenage tramps in skintight pants do the E Street dance and everything's all right” and “Now those E Street brats in twilight duel flash like phantoms in full star stream / Down fire trails on silver nights with blonde girls pledged sweet sixteen,” weave a vivid tale that glorifies the iconic James Dean style 1950's greaser. In the process, The Boss adds a personal touch by introducing characters like the rough and tumble Power Thirteen who “gave a trooper all he had in a summer scuffle" and his girl, Little Angel. This is commonplace on The Wild, The Innocent, & The E-Street Shuffle as Springsteen lays out song after song after song of the pulse of New Jersey, be it the West Side Story-esque love story of Spanish Johnny and Puerto Rican Jane in “Incident on 57th Street” or the balladry of a man facing a world of ”switchblade lovers” and miscreant greasers, who is tired of chasing the factory girls and just wants to settle down with his Sandy, on “4th of July, Asbury Park.”

Usually on an album full of hits and fan favorites its hard to pin down a definitive stand out track, but “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)” is the glistening jewel at the heart of The Wild, The Innocent, and the E-Street Shuffle. Springsteen's youthful story of a romance with a girl named Rosalita and wanting to be able to liberate her from her parents and the swamps of Jersey makes full use of his band with soaring brass, driving Hammond organ, thunderous drums and an addictive hand clap bridge, to take his saccharine sweet rock and roll sound to new heights. “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)” is the feel good hit of the 20th century.

The Wild, The Innocent, & The E-Street Shuffle is The Boss at his finest. While it may not have the same scope and grandeur of the album following it, Springsteen's mega-hit Born To Run, it contains more than ample doses of the lively spirit, youthful enthusiasm, and endearing optimism that made Bruce Springsteen not only a household name, but the epitome of the American experience.



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user ratings (248)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
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Tancredi Vergani (5)
The true masterpiece of the Jersey rocker and songwriter....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2009


17222 Comments


how the fuck this did not have a review yet is beyond me.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2009


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.8

nice, great album

JohnXDoesn't
March 4th 2009


1283 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good review, ok album

edit: ok pretty good album............This Message Edited On 03.04.09

joshmay
March 4th 2009


28 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this album and the one before it rule, but my favorite springsteen material has to be Nebraska. just him and a guitar, its very powerful.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2009


17222 Comments


123. nebraska is my favorite too.

TheGreatD17
March 4th 2009


1141 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good review, although it's 57th Street, not 47th. Kitty's Back is my favorite Bruce song and I honestly think this is his best album, even better than Born to Run. Nebraska is good too but I think the second half of it is a little boring.

kygermo
March 5th 2009


996 Comments


Nice review, even though I find The Boss (of who exactly?) to be far too predictable. Releasing albums on Inaugration day? No thanks, I like my music politics-free. This album is great though and I remember my dad had it on vinyl.

JohnXDoesn't
March 5th 2009


1283 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the boss of rock n roll you nublet .you know like elvis was "The King"

nah actually his nickname came from his work ethic and his strict control over the band and making his records. the band would show up in the studio or w/e and when they refereed to him they would refer to him as "the boss." "the boss wants it like this" or "when is the boss getting here," etc. it just stuck. he used to hate it from what i understand..............This Message Edited On 03.05.09

kygermo
March 5th 2009


996 Comments


^ Lol thanks! Every time I go by The Stone Pony, I think of him. At least hes semi-cooler than that other tool from NJ by the name of Jon Bon Jovi.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2009


17222 Comments


might 5 this.

WarAllTheTime988
April 1st 2009


360 Comments


Awesome to see some Boss fans around here! This and Greetings from Asbury Park took a little longer to grow on me than any of his other stuff, but still awesome albums. I finally got some my hands on some tickets to see the man in about three weeks and could not be more stoked! And I skimmed through quickly 'cause I'm a little short on time but pretty good review dude!

WarAllTheTime988
April 1st 2009


360 Comments


Also sorry to comment a second time here, but key selection on lyrics in the summary, haha. I also particularly like: "Hey vibes man, hey jazz man, play me your serenade - any deeper blue and you're playin' in your grave."

Athom
Staff Reviewer
April 1st 2009


17222 Comments


sweet. i'd kill to see him live.

MrLlamaMan
April 13th 2009


2 Comments


His best. Better than Born to Run. IMO, of course.

MusicReviewer44
April 13th 2009


30 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I might agree with that llama dude. Kind of hard to say though.

BigHans
February 3rd 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I could never decide if Rosalita or Jungleland was the better epic Springsteen track.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2010


17222 Comments


Rosalita, bro

BigHans
October 1st 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I dunno man they are both fucking genius

Jarvig
November 21st 2010


168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Early raw Springsteen with great lyrics and lots of "free jam" long tunes behind them.

foxblood
March 13th 2013


6797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

rosalita is so fucking incredible



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