Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball

by Dan Clay Rating:8.5 Release Date:2012-03-05

Okay, so he's hardly alternative, but the Boss' 17th album deserves coverage and in Wrecking Ball he's produced one of the best of his career. After 2009's rather lacklustre Working on a Dream, Wrecking Ball represents Bruce's 'angry' album apparently, dealing with the recession, politics and forgotten dreams. What does that mean for the listener though?

Well, after the superb The Rising, Bruce had been on a winning streak in the 00s with the success of Devils and Dirt and Magic before Dream lapsed slightly. Thankfully, Wrecking Ball contains plenty of moments of inspiration and melodic beauty to rank it as one of the finest of his career. Those looking for the big Boss hits need look no further than opener '

', featuring the late E-Street great Clarence Clemons on sax.

Elsewhere, the folk influence of 2006's Seger Sessions is evident throughout, whether it's on the chirpy 'Easy Money', closing track 'We Are Alive' or the more melancholy but beautiful 'Jack of All Trades', featuring some pretty choice lyrics at times. "If I had a gun I'd find the bastards and shoot them on site," he sings over a deceptively sweet backing, although the emotion's clear to see.

It's the album's mid-section which bears the brunt of his frustration, however, on the stompy 'Death to my Hometown' and the slower 'This Depression'. However, it's '

' which is likely to upset Bruce purists most, featuring rap (not his, don't worry) and beats akin to '94's 'Streets of Philadelphia'. It's fabulous though, building to a gospel-tinged finale that shows Bruce, beyond 60, has lost none of his magic.

2012 has brought us its first great album.

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