Album Review: Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball

Arjun Sajip 13 March 2012

Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball


Track to download: Wrecking Ball

Until his 1987 masterpiece Tunnel of Love, one could be given a very personal window to Springsteen’s development as a man. Since Tunnel his demythologising has descended into cliches, culminating in his latest album.

Whereas once he explored themes of social injustice with surprising depth and complexity, here he’s somewhat lazier; the man who gave us For You is now rhyming “ball” with “balls” and is also undermined by repetitive platitudes and excessive finger-pointing at bankers. Some of the flaws have their own charm; the album is definitely a grower.

The music on offer here is catchy, musically interesting, often invigorating and reminiscent of the Seeger Sessions, but unlike the music of The Wild, the Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle, which showed us how beautiful life can be, the percussive rhythms here occasionally transform listeners into punch-bags.

There isn’t enough of Professor Bittan or the late, great Clarence Clemons to alleviate this, although there are some welcome, well-placed acoustic moments. While this album provides plenty of Bruce’s passionate neo-Guthrie humanism, his intelligence is undermined by a relentless yet simple-minded onslaught. His back-catalogue is remarkably smart, deep and varied; he should put more of these qualities into his individual albums.

Arjun Sajip