Review Summary: The wind in the black elms....
Coming little more then a year after the near classic Magic
album, Bruce Springsteen returns with The E Street Band for another great effort with Working On A Dream.
A big, bold pop album, Working On A Dream
is neither as urgent nor as focused as Springsteen's previous effort, but what it lacks in one regard it more then makes up for with adventurous songwriting and skilled craftsmanship. Songs such as the lovely and warm hearted title track, the whimsical folk rock of Tomorrow Never Knows
, and fleet footed Byrds inspired Surprise Surprise
keep things moving along and tuneful, while others such as the reflective Kingdom Of Days
, epic cowboy story Outlaw Pete
, and foreboding desperate love tale Life Itself
puts some meat on this albums lean, well crafted bones.
We also get bullet mic blues numbers such as Good Eye
and A Night With The Jersey Devil
, a touching farewell to his recently deceased long time organ player Danny Federici in the acoustic flavored The Last Carnival
, and a real treat in the bald faced romantic tale Queen Of The Supermarket
, which finds Bruce wearing his love for Roy Orbison all over his sleeve.
Producer Brendon 'O Brien must be given much credit here. Fleshing out the sound of the excellent group of players that is The E Street Band and encouraging Bruce to sing
out in a big clear voice, over the course of the album 'O Brien brings a depth of sound and modern and classic recording touches to the group which compliment the times we live in as well as respect for times gone past, evoking Phil Spector lushness as well as solid modern rock production values. It was as unlikely a pairing as any when 'O Brien first worked with Bruce on 2002's The Rising
, but it's a pairing which has brought this artist and said producer to new creative and musical heights that rewards the listener greatly, indeed. We can only hope for more to come.
Through it all the band is steady and true, Bruce is in fine voice, and the message is clear: love, so it seems, can conquer all. Even if it takes a lifetime of hard times and broken dreams to attain it. A truly great work by a truly great artist, Working On A Dream
can sit comfortably next to Bruce Springsteen's greatest work, and is an instant Album Of The Year contender even at this early date. Older, a little wiser, and with his eyes set to the heavens musically and lyrically, we can only hope Magic
and the wonderful Working On A Dream
is just the beginning of what seems a new creative life for one of rock 'n rolls all time great artist.