Hat tip to my buddy, Irishman, and fellow diabetic U2 fan Patrick for that one.

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Live Blogging {sort of} the New Springsteen

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I’m listening to the stream of Bruce Springsteen’s latest album, Wrecking Ball, on his website (www.brucespringsteen.net). And oh my! I’m in love (of course). Just writing my thoughts down as each song comes along…..

We Take Care of Our Own A fist-pumping, high energy, stellar opening track. Kind of reminds me of Badlands, albeit with a different sound.

Easy Money Countrified Bruce! But with a backbeat reminiscent of some of the stuff on Working on a Dream. I like it.

{I had really meant to hold out until the official release date, March 6th (aka tomorrow). But dude, it’s all there on his website! I held out for so long, and finally caved today.}

Shackled and Drawn Typical Springsteen: depressing angry lyrics masked by a peppy melody and instrumentation. I mean, think about it: why the hell are we all so damn HAPPY when we sing along to “Dancing in the Dark”?!

Jack of All Trades Sweet, sad. I like the simple piano part in the background. This seems like the song you sing under your breath when you’re walking down the street on a gray, cloudy Monday. And by “you,” I mean “me.” (Does anyone else sing when they’re walking? Like….more than in the shower?)

[Funny story: one time I was singing a gospel song as I was walking to the subway station. Some guy on his doorstep said, “Nice voice.” “Thanks,” I called out to him as I kept walking. He shouted back, “If I give you my number, would you sing it to me?”

Nice try, dude.}

Oh! The swell at the end of this song! GLORIOUS!

Death to My Hometown Rocking the simultaneously Irish-countryside and down-home-‘Murica sound from the beginning. I dig it.

Confession: this makes me really miss Clarence and his sax.

{Clarence Clemons’ death is probably my most vivid memory of the entire year of 2011 for me. Rest in peace, Big Man.}

This Depression Is it just me, or does the opening synth part sound like “Secret Garden”? Just me? Okay. I’m not feeling this one so much.

{The reason why I wanted to hold out until the release date, despite numerous streams and leaks, is that…well, anticipation heightens the experience. One of my most cherished memories is the release of U2’s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. I had been looking forward to that album for a year. I counted down the days, usually shrieking to my high school classmates– “Three days!” “Two days!” “TWELVE HOURS!” And then, at 11:40 PM the night before, I drove to Mike’s Video and Music and bought the deluxe edition. I sped home and listened to it twice, physics class be damned. I can’t explain it, but it was SO special to wait and savor it.}

Wrecking Ball This one is way more exciting live. Also, the Pope is Catholic and Bruce Springsteen is not Republican.

{So anyways, I feel like I’m talking about wedding nights rather than new albums, but it’s true. I love the anticipation, and I’m a wee bit sad that, in the age of digital media, the midnight trek to buy records is a thing of the past.}

{I’m still hitting up the local shop tomorrow and buying a physical album, though. Just to recapture a wisp of the experience.}

At least “Wrecking Ball” builds at the end!

You’ve Got It Twaaaaaaaang it, Boss.

“Baby you’ve got it, come on and give it to me….” Um. Rawr.

{No X-rated thoughts about the man himself, now that he’s 62 and has hair plugs a-go-go, but DAMN. Can we turn some fans on in here?}

{Speaking of, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5PoIrcyd34 As one commentator said, “I think I just got impregnated.”}

Rocky Ground Rocky ground! Forty days! Jesus said something about them moneychangers….thank you for the lack of subtlety, Bruce. Wonder if we could ever sing this in church.

{This past Sunday, one of our choir members sang “No Church in the Wild,” by Kanye + Jay-Z. I freaking LOVE when secular music is used in worship services.}

{A slightly paraphrased quote from Esquire a few years ago: “Go to a Springsteen concert on Saturday and church on Sunday, and tell me where you see God.”}

Wait, there’s RAP?! And it even quotes “Hard Times.” Well played, Boss. Or whoever that lady laying down the beat is.

Land of Hope and Dreams HNNNGGGGGH I LOVE the gospel intro on this one. Not so crazy about the weird drumbeat that comes in after. This arrangement thus far seems like a little less soul and a little more…fireworks?

{LOHAD is one of the most stupidly uplifting songs live ever. The first time I heard it– 5/8/09, in my dear hometown– I was smiling so hard my jaw ached.}

{My dad was at that show. He claims he enjoyed it. He also was seated the entire time. HMMM.}

{Well, except when I pulled him to his feet for “Born to Run,” because, come on…..it’s BORN TO F—ING RUN.}

The problem with this and “Wrecking Ball” is that they’re too polished. Both songs had vibrant lives onstage before being put on a studio album. So that’s what I’m used to. Sometimes, I like studio versions of songs better than live. I guess it’s what you hear first…..

….well, only kind of.

SAX! Excuse me while I shed a tear for Clarence.

{LOHAD has, in the past, made me cry from sheer happiness. It was right around the end of college, and I just felt ridiculously grateful for everything even though I had no idea where my life was going.}

Nice reference to “People Get Ready.”

{Bruce joined U2 onstage in Philly in 2005. They sang that song. In the Philly GA line for U2 last summer, I met a dude who was front row center for that concert. I didn’t know whether to yell “Tell me everything!” or “I hate you!”}

The close of this track is highly unsatisfying. I want a little more drums banging, guitar slamming, choir-raising-their-voices, glory-hallelujah awesomeness here!

We Are Alive I have to read the lyrics on this one. Seems like more music about mortality….I’m surprised there’s no tribute to Clarence on this one, like there was on Working on a Dream for Danny (may he rest in peace.)

{Hey U2.com, thanks for reminding me to renew my subscription. AKA I am an official member of the U2 fan club. Also, the Pope is Catholic and Bruce Springsteen is not a Republican.}

This one confuses me. The way it builds….hmmm.

“Stand shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart”……maybe I dig it. I like that it’s a foot-tapper, in that countrified but not Seeger Sessions-esque way. It’s a slightly new direction. I’ll always love (and miss) the enormous rock swagger of early Bruce, when he was young and had more to prove. But I like this sound, and I appreciate that it’s coming from his current perspective: of advancing age, mortality, and above all, anger with the world and the fat cats who want to suck the life out of those of us still on this earth.

And it appears that I just summed up my thoughts on the entire album sound as the record itself ends.

First impression? Not wildly in love, first half is better than the second, but a great, exciting, thought-provoking record.

…..And I cannot WAIT until I’m in the arena experiencing the magic of Bruce Springsteen + the E Street Band live again!

{PS. Yes, this post is entirely stream of consciousness and therefore unedited. I hope it makes sense.}

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