Bruce Springsteen: Working On A Dream

Recoded mainly during the gaps of the 2007-2008 “Magic” world tour, “Working On A Dream” will be the last Springsteen album to feature original E-Street band member, Danny Federici, who died last April.

I’m not a natural Springsteen fan, but I keep buying his albums because I think I should like them, but seldom ever do. Well either my persistence is starting to pay off, or Springsteen’s stepped up a few gears since 2007's “Magic” which I found a little dull. After the first couple of listens this album seems to be gaining a little resonance with me, and some of the tracks are starting to stand out from the more generic Springsteen drone.

“Outlaw Pete” is an eight-minute trek through the Wild West with a train like thumping rhythm, strong but not overpowering orchestration and a harmonica straight out of Sergio Leone’s “Once Upon A Time In The West”. A good album opener that inspired me to keep listening. “Life Itself” features the jangling guitar sound reminiscent of the Byrds and “What Love Can Do” is an upbeat little ditty with some great overlaid sharp guitars, a mid song instrumental break that could fit into a late 60’s British top 10 single and an ending that could work well on an early Beatles song. Positioned at the arse end of the album is “The Wrestler”, an acoustic and poignant conclusion to a Springsteen album that managed to keep my hopes alive in the Boss.

In between there is some more standard fare, such as “Queen Of The Supermarket” which is one of Springsteen’s characteristic blue-collar love songs. “Working On A Dream” seems a strange choice for the title track, as I found it one of the least compelling songs on the album. However, in the absence of getting the copyright deal for the Bob the Builder song, the title did fit quite well for President Obama’s campaign trail, on which the song made it’s début.

[click album artwork for video]