For Tawny Rene… okay, Don, too!
During the weeks when Monday is a holiday, Tuesdays can be met with dread… It’s back to work, back to the grind, back to the week. But usually those weeks fly by a little faster, so perhaps Tuesdays should be celebrated. For me, Tuesdays can be glorious… Tuesdays can mean great change… for traditionally Tuesdays are when new albums are released… and oh yeah, they are also election days. Both events can move the world.
[Please check out my very first “professional” blog for Original Retro Brand (up today at 5 pm EST). I will post it here later. Rock the Vote will be tweeting the ORB link and pushing it on their FB page.]
Many people will say that I am pre-disposed to being a Bruce Springsteen fan because I grew up in Jersey. The exposure was there, sure… but the connection came because the music spoke to me… and seeing Bruce live moved me, uplifted me and is as close to a true religious experience as I’ve ever had. I do not say that lightly, nor do I say it to belittle or dismiss my own religion which I love and respect and find great faith and value in. Heck, even my Rabbi is moved by Springsteen concerts… How cool is that?
The experience of sharing something so powerful with so many people in the same darkened arena or stadium is magic and invigorating. It is life confirming. One leaves a Springsteen show feeling better and brighter… and thinking that maybe we can change the world. If I could bottle that and sell it as a supplement so we can maintain that positive energy every single day, the world would be a glorious place.
I defy even the most ardent non-fan to go to a show and not be moved… You hear me, K?
With that said… and with the unmatched love I have for Bruce, he does not get an automatic pass from me with every record he makes… There are some that grab me instantly and never let up… Greetings, Born to Run, Darkness and The River to name a few. There are those who start slow and sneak up on me, like a long courtship… and there are those I need to really sit with. This is one of them… this one is challenging me… and with music that is actually trying to say something… that is not a bad thing at all.
Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball
“You can never go wrong pissed off in rock ‘n’ roll. “
– Bruce Springsteen
This is an angry record…
I am already angry… I am disgusted with what politics in this country has become… the way Wall Street runs rampant, bending or disregarding every law and rule of decency… and how corporations dictate votes and rule the roost… I was and am pissed, so I did not need or want that from Bruce… I wanted uplift and spirit… There is that here, too… but… it is an angry record.
I did not love this one at the start… I mean there were songs I dug right away, but I could not find my way into it. My friend Tawny Rene kept on me… pushed me to go beyond the anger and go deeper…
So I kept listening… and listening… because that is what I do with a Bruce album… Because average Bruce is a zillion times better than most of the other stuff out there… Okay, there is a lot of good stuff out there, but you know what I mean…
After many listens, it started to grow on me… And after reading this fantastic interview that is posted on Backstreets, that my Bruce pal and friend Tawny Rene sent me… I was locked in…
There is still a time and a place for anger… For anger can drive us and motivate us into action… and right now, this world needs action. I need action.
In the title song he sings:
“Yeah, we know that come tomorrow, none of this will be here
So hold tight on your anger, you hold tight on your anger
Hold tight to your anger, don’t fall to your fear.”
A tricky thing, anger… hold it in for too long and it can lead to stress and ulcers… it can destroy us… but let it out, carefully, and it can lead to real positive change.
“We Take Care Of Our Own” – When this single first came out, I felt Bruce was trying too hard to recapture the controlled chaos of “Born In The USA”, by writing another seemingly jingoistic song that politicians would kill to have as their campaign song. Of course, like that now classic tune, this has the same, not-so-fast, listen to what I’m really saying lyrics… and he is right… this country does and does not take care of its own. The power of this anthem has grown on me a lot!
“Easy Money” – This is the song that made me think this record is essentially The Seeger Sessions but with Bruce originals instead of covers. It has the feel of a folk and Americana rock record, which is certainly not a bad thing. The Seeger Sessions album and tour were so alive and passionate and moving.
“Shackled And Drawn” – I really like this song and it has all the earmarks of a classic, folk tune. Elements of American and Celtic music… It’s a real foot stomper, as are many of tracks… the idea I guess being to get you off your ass, onto your feet and into jubilation and action. J likes it, too!
“Jack Of All Trades” – Don’t love this one… and as much as I like the song better when the horns come in, they remind me of the theme of The Waltons… nothing wrong with that… I like them… they just do.
“Death To My Hometown” – This pirate shanty with a whole lot of Celtic influences is a dark song hidden in some fun, foot stomping music. Then again, isn’t that what Seeger and Guthrie were doing back in the day… hiding the message with a little sweetness.
“This Depression” – This ballad really grew on me and really, truly moves me now. “I need your heart in this depression.” Love can keep a lot together and is so needed right now, especially when times get tough. And the double entendre is so not lost on me…
“Wrecking Ball” which was written in 2009 for the demolition of Giants Stadium is such a great song and has meanings on so many levels… for the literal stadium, for the state and of course for the man himself… My favorite track.
“You’ve Got It” – I am now changing my thoughts on this one, because my friends Don and Tawny Rene mentioned this song this morning and had me re-listen and really ponder… They are looking at this album so deeply, really taking in the song structure, which is amazing.
To me, it seems to be about a person’s spirit… that mysterious human essence. Don and Tawny Rene call it the transition song and they are right… for the rest of the record after this is more uplifting and less angry.
I guess to me it means that we all have a spirit, an internal sense of right and wrong and generosity… That spirit needs to be shared and let out in order to move forward and in order to have hope.
Don says “perhaps he’s talking about all of our unique individual talents and that’s exactly what’s going to be required of us (from the rubble of the last decade) to bring about the kind of change that will lead this country out of the ROCKY GROUND… So, in essence, realize the best of what you’ve got going on inside of you, manifest it, share it and then “rise up Shepherd, rise up…”
I would say hell yes, Don… The wrecking ball leaves rubble… a minefield that creates craters and danger and rocky ground… and you have to be prepared to walk through it, but walk forward we must!
Dude, that is some deep and really good stuff. Thanks! You guys rock!
“Rocky Ground” – Mike V. and I were talking about this song… Rob said it reminded him of “Streets of Philadelphia”… like he could hear it as a soundtrack song. Look at Bruce using a little hip hop and rap… and such a strong Gospel feel… Makes total sense now that he was actually WORKING on a Gospel album… THAT would have been something. And for the record, I wrote that before I knew about the Gospel album. This is a solid, solid song and one I really dig.
“Land Of Hopes And Dreams” – The Gospel feel continues on the album version of a song he has been playing live for a long while. I always liked this one… I have always wanted to ride on this train… with the “saints and sinners… losers and winners… whores and gamblers… lost souls… the broken-hearted… thieves and sweet souls departed… fools and kings thrown…”
But of course, at 3:45 in… a bit of sadness kicks in… no, a lot of frickin’ sadness… I am literally bawling right now, as I realize this is the last bit of Clarence on a Bruce record… Man, that just gets me.
“We Are Alive” – And then… out of the darkness and the anger comes a sense of hope. This song builds so beautifully from one voice and guitar to the full band… proof that one voice rising can lead many voices to do the same… One voice can start so much.
The Mexican sounding horns kick in around Johnny and June Carter-Cash’s “Ring Of Fire”. Awesome!
Bruce puts it perfectly… about this record and his whole career… It is an “angry sort of patriotism.”
I say being a patriot means that you do question your leaders, you challenge their decisions and you make a stance… and you never lose your love of this country throughout all of that.
That is the price and the reward for freedom. We get to speak up and out… and we most certainly need to… have to.
Raise your voice… Raise your voice…
“Come on, rise up… Come on, rise up… Come on, rise up… Come on, rise up… Come on, rise up… Come on, rise up… Come on, riiiiiise up…”