Magic (2007)


1. Radio Nowhere 2. You'll Be Comin' Down 3. Livin' in the Future 4. Your Own Worst Enemy 5. Gypsy Biker 6. Girls in Their Summer Clothes 7. I'll Work for Your Love 8. Magic 9. Last to Die 10.Long Walk Home 11.Devil's Arcade 12.Terry's Song

 

Talk to most diehard Springsteen fans, and they swear by this one. This is the release that so many of them have been waiting on since the mid 1980s. You see, the E Street Band is back and, unlike The Rising, this is not a concept album, yet just some straight ahead rockers - something diehard fans have been wanting for a long long time.

Well, it is a collection of straight forward rockers. Some are great. But there are a lot of them, no matter how many times I listen to them, I just can't seem to see what the fuss is all about. There are so many songs that sound like he's going through the motions, so many songs that are indistinguishable from anything else here, that it just leaves me feeling unaffected and lukewarm.

It starts of phenomenally. Two of the best songs lead off the album - Radio Nowhere is perfect 21st century Springsteen. It's a definite no pulled punches rocker, yet sounds mature enough to where it distinguishes itself quite well from the "old" Springsteen. In other words, great - but doesn't sound like anything else he's ever done. You'll Be Comin' Down is the next track and follows in similar fashion. It has just enough enhancements and new sounds to call it out as unique enough to stand out apart his older recordings as well.

By the time the third track, Livin' in the Future arrives, things start to go south. This is quite possibly the silliest song he's ever done. O.K., it does sound like classic Springsteen, but the mood has already been set in a different mold (as mentioned before), so it seems out of place. Plus the lyrics are pretty stupid. You see, times are too tough right now, and everything sucks but it's o.k. 'cause we're not really here. See, we're in the future so we're not really here'. Or something idiotic like that. A lot of the rest of the album sounds too much like he's trying to sound like a 25 year old again. I must repeat, a lot of people obviously like that about the album, I just think he's mature enough to where he can sound fresh, strong and "new" without having to replicate Born to Run or Darkness on the Edge of Town.

There really is more "magic" hidden in all this, though. Girls in Their Summer Clothes is one of his best songs ever that rightly deserved the Grammy that it won. You can best describe it as Bruce Springsteen meets The Beach Boys. A bit of a scary thought if you've never heard the song, but trust me, it's incredible. Devil's Arcade is the other outstanding track here. One wishes he would have concluded the album with this piece as opposed to Terry's Song which is a bit of bizarre obituary that doesn't do anything at all. Whoever this "Terry" guy is, sadly - you really don't ever end up caring.

Well, the band seemed to be back for good now, and the tour was incredibly successful. Fans like myself were happy he was still doing what he did so well, and other fans thought he had recaptured his, well.....magic.

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