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Monday, 6 March 2017

Revisiting Wrecking Ball - Bruce Springsteen (2012)


Wrecking Ball - Bruce Springsteen
Produced by Bruce Springsteen and Ron Aniello
Released 5th March 2012 UK/6th March 2012 (US)
UK Chart #1
US Chart #1
Austrian Chart #1
Belgian Chart #1
Danish Chart #1
Dutch Chart #1
Finnish Chart #1
German Chart #1
Irish Chart #1
Italian Chart #1
New Zealand Chart #1
Norwegian Chart #1
Spanish Chart #1
Swedish Chart #1
Swiss Chart #1
 Tracklist on Vinyl
A1 We Take Care Of Our Own    
A2 Easy Money    
A3 Shackled And Drawn    
B1 Jack Of All Trades    
B2 Death To My Hometown    
B3 This Depression    
C1 Wrecking Ball    
C2 You've Got It    
C3 Rocky Ground    
D1 Land Of Hope And Dreams    
D2 We Are Alive

CD Bonus Tracks on Special Edition
12 Swallowed Up (In The Belly Of The Whale)    
13 American Land

Singles on Wrecking Ball

We Take Care Of Our Own
Digital Release 
US Chart #106
UK Chart #111

2012 Record Store Day Release
A-Side: Rocky Ground

Digital Release May 2012

Studio Album #17 from Bruce Springsteen. The majority of the tracks had been written around 2011 but there were a few that had been around awhile:

Jack of All Trades
Written in 2009
Wrecking Ball
Written in 2009 as a Tribute to Giants Stadium which was set to be demolished. Springsteen and the E Street Band played five nights there between 30th September - 9th October 2009 as part of the Working On A Dream Tour.
Land of Hope and Dreams
Was written in 1998 or 1999 and was first performed on the 1999 Reunion Tour. It was recorded in 2002 as part of the sessions for The Rising but wasn't released as a studio format until this album.
It had been featured as a live performance on the Live In New York City DVD (Released 2001) and Live In Barcelona DVD (Released 2003).
American Land 
Was written during The Seeger Sessions period in 2006 and first appeared on We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions - American Land Edition. A live version appeared on The Live In Dublin DVD (released 2007). American Land was on the Special Edition of Wrecking Ball.

The only members of The E Street Band who feature on the album are Steven Van Zandt, Max Weinberg, Patti Scialfa, and adjunct members Soozie Tyrell and Charlie Giordano. Clarence Clemons who died in June 2011 also features on the title track and Land of Hope and Dreams, which was a nice touch in tribute to The Big Man. Tom Morello features on guitar on Jack of All Trades and This Depression.

The Hollywood Reporter called the album Springsteen at his "angriest yet" and Andy Greene for  Rolling Stone said Springsteen has "spent much of his career writing about characters struggling in tough economic times, but the financial crisis reportedly convinced him it was time to write about the people and forces that brought America to this 'ugly point.' [The album is an] indictment of Wall Street greed and corruption and a look into the devastation it has wrought." David Fricke of Rolling Stone gave the album a rave review, dubbing it "the most despairing, confrontational and musically turbulent album Bruce Springsteen has ever made." 

Steve Leftridge of PopMatters called it "cohesively designed" and wrote that it "finds Springsteen still firing on all cylinders—writing with poetic urgency, drawing on traditions old and new, singing and playing with prime strength and energy, and delivering a new set of killer melodies with fresh sonic wallop." Andy Gill of The Independent found the album "much darker than any of Springsteen's earlier blue-collar tirades" and stated, "There's few, if any, moments of musical innovation, but in terms of political intent, there won't be a harder, more challenging album released all year." 

Rolling Stone made Wrecking Ball their Album of the Year in 2012, and it was nominated for a Grammy as Best Rock Album and We Take Care Of Our Own was nominated in two categories Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song. The band performed at the Grammy's Ceremony (listen to the audio performance of We Take Care Of Our Own here).

I had been really disappointed with Springsteen's Working On A Dream album and to date it is the least played album of his that I own. Apart from the single My Lucky Day I don't think I have even listened to the album as a whole since the first week of its release. So when Wrecking Ball was announced I was a bit fearful of what we were going to get this time around. The title track I had known for a good few years due to the live versions from the 2009 tour and the lead track We Take Care Of Our Own was a clear sign that the Wrecking Ball album was going to be a very different beast to Working On A Dream!

I was not disappointed at all with this album, it managed to bring together sounds from his Seeger Sessions to straight out Rock and Roll intermixed with a bit of Gospel flair. If I had to pick a favourite (discounting the Singles and the three I knew beforehand - Wrecking Ball, Land of Hope and Dreams and American Land) I'd be hard pressed to choose between Easy Money, Jack of All Trades, and Shackled and Drawn.

I was listening to it this morning as I was preparing this and it still sounded brilliant to my ears at least.

Coming next a little revisit to The Wrecking Ball World Tour 2012-2013.

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