Thursday, November 29, 2007


After a few weeks of listening, I'm ready to declare Bruce Springsteen's Magic his best album in quite a few years. How many is quite a few? I'm still trying to decide.

It's my humble opinion that Lucky Town - the album Bruce wrote and recorded in 2-3 weeks after spending two years over-fine-tuning the comparatively lackluster Human Touch, then released 'em both at the same time - was the only studio album that matches up well with his amazing first half-dozen projects, from Greeting From Asbury Park to Born in the U.S.A.

Magic belongs side-by-side with Lucky Town on the B.W. scale, and it doesn't seem to have any clunkers in the mix ("Local Hero" and "The Big Muddy" wore out their welcomes for me on LT). But does it harken back all the way to Darkness at the Edge of Town? As Yoda says, "Difficult to say." But I'm going to say it is, indeed, the band's best studio effort since 1984. Does it crack the big six? Give me a little more time to think about that.

In case you care, here's B.W.'s list of favorite Springsteen albums, excluding live albums and Tracks, which is too chock full of great stuff from all eras to be compared fairly to the others:

1. Born to Run (hey, I'm nothing but predictable)
2. Darkness at the Edge of Town
3. The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle
4. Born in the U.S.A.
5. The River
6. Nebraska
7. Magic
8. Lucky Town
9. Gets a little fuzzier at this point ...

What is it about Magic, you ask? It's hard to put a finger on it, but like his best work, Springsteen and the boys have produced a solid pile of songs that linger in the mind long after you've turned them off - extremely catchy hooks, often powerful words, and they sound like vintage Springsteen without being exact copies.

I'm reluctant to put the new album any higher than #7 at this early stage because the sheen of newness is still on it. I still remember when I was designating Field of Dreams as my second-favorite movie of all time - that's how strong the initial impact was - but after further review it doesn't even make my top 10. But it's encouraging, as a guy who's about four years younger than The Boss, to see someone from my generation still pumping out stuff this good. Or maybe I should say "pumping out stuff this good again." Twenty-three years between genius projects is a long time.

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Blogger Wally Conger said...

It's funny. If you take your top 3 Springsteen LPs and reverse 'em, that's MY top 3 list for Bruce. Wonderful stuff.

5:05 PM  
Anonymous Happy Curmudgeon said...

I'm with Wally on the top 3 and would slide Nebraska down below Lucky Town.

I'd put the boxed set Live 1975-85 (on vinyl) as my favorite live album.

12:13 PM  

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