by Lizzy Fischetti
Bruce Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball is one of his most experimental and enjoyable albums yet. This record has something for everyone, from the classic E Street Band sound to tracks featuring Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello.
Springsteen opens with "We Take Care of Our Own," which takes an exhausted turn from the lyrics on his 2001 album The Rising. The song is about the gap between "American reality and the American dream."
The message in Wrecking Ball is one that Springsteen has visited before, since the majority of the lyrics have their roots in his opinions on the current political and economic climate. Nevertheless, with the help of some new sounds found on tracks like "Shackled and Drawn," and "Death to My Hometown," his anger becomes clear all over again.
A few highlights from the album include Morello’s guitar solo on "This Depression," which matches the anguish and double meaning of the song. In the frustrated ballad "Jack of All Trades," Springsteen sympathizes with the "99 percent" with the lyrics "The banker man grows fat, working man grows thin/ It’s happened before and it’ll happen again." Springsteen even experiments with a gospel style in the song "Rocky Ground," which also includes a full verse of rap—a sound that is completely different from his other work.
From there, Springsteen develops several characters that have been impacted by the struggles of "American reality." One of the best tracks on the album, "Death to My Hometown," uses an Irish folk beat and swing to talk about a man who is exasperated with the lack of accountability of those who sent the economy into the ground.
Finally, the song "Wrecking Ball" features the full E Street Band, including the late Clarence Clemons. Written about the old Giants Stadium, this song is where Springsteen connects with his original rugged Jersey sound as he sings, "Through the mud and the beer and the blood and the tears/ I’ve seen champions come and go." Though it was composed in 2009 for the demolition of Giants Stadium, the hopeful theme is as timely as ever in light of the Giants’ Superbowl victory.
While the album includes a lot of new sounds from Springsteen, it is the classic E Street sound with a new twist that will make his music appeal to a wider audience.