Saturday, January 16, 2010

TK #11: Bruce Springsteen – Magic (2007)

Bruce Springsteen has always been a perfecter, not an innovator. From his earliest records, discussion of his influences has gone hand-in-hand with discussion of his music, be it Dylan (the debut), Van Morrison (The Wild, the Innocent . . .) or Phil Spector and Roy Orbison (Born to Run). In 2007, he came back hard with a lush, gorgeous disc that conjures memories of 1960s California pop, with the grand Spectorian density it demands. True to the album’s name, Bruce sets up his audience with some sleight-of-hand. The hard-driving opener “Radio Nowhere” bears little resemblance to the rest of the affair, and no Springsteen title track has ever seemed less essential to an album than the quiet, minimal “Magic.” But the songs that form the disc’s emotional core – ones like “You’ll Be Coming Down,” “Girls in Their Summer Clothes,” and “Long Walk Home” – give Magic cohesion in their rich melodicism, overt romanticism and unrelenting realism. The music swells and swoons, the Boss bites and croons, and the audience gets one of the finest efforts of a legendary career.

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