Broooce Is Comin' To Halftime
Some folks watch the Super Bowl just for the ads, and we'll be doing that too (keeping our eyes on the music and music stars involved) on Feb. 1. But the sonic highlight is always the halftime show -- for better or worse. In a special section on Billboard.com, we counted down the 10 Best Halftime Moments Ever and by best we meant most spectacular (Diana Ross being airlifted off the field in a helicopter in 1996!), but this year we've got Bruce Springsteen bringing his show to the gridiron for the first time. His shows always fully rock the stadiums he plays, and it's hard to imagine this one won't do the same come Sunday.
'Magic' On The Edge Of Town
J.I. got himself a nice little Friday gift when Bruce Springsteen's "Magic" hit the Interwebs, a month before its Oct. 2 release; there's not a much better way to travel home at the start of a weekend than with the first new E Street Bruce since 2002. Gone are the Pete Seeger-inspired ballads and oaky twang. Returned is the classic E Street sound, and it's a streamlined, massive, nicely arena-ready sound at that. In fact, J.I. is now planning to abandon his afternoon meetings, quickly purchase a convertible and find the nearest highway.
"Magic" has Brendan O'Brien all over it; fans of "The Rising" will recognize the massive, stage-ready song off the bat on the Zevon-y first single "Radio Nowhere" and "You'll Be Comin' Down," sort of a "Lonesome Day II." (Clemons fans will be happy too; the Big Man is all over the first half of the record).
There's a lot of Beach Boys ringing and chiming in "Your Own Worst Enemy," which feature additional strings and some of Max Weinberg's most theatrical drumwork. There's an epic-in-waiting in "Gypsy Biker," a summer pastiche in "Girls in Their Summer Clothes" and a bonus track dedicated to Springsteen's old friend Terry Magovern, who passed away in recent weeks. "Last to Die" finds Springsteen indulging the political fire that's powered his recent years: "We'll be the last to die for a mistake." And the title track is three minutes of violin, creepy imagery and atmosphere -- it's the first break the record gives you.
But a lot is textbook Bruce -- chrome wheels, summer clothes -- although he's clearly out to stretch the E Street's reach into new sonic realms ("Gypsy Biker" has a bagpipe!) "I'll Work for Your Love" is classic Bruce ballad: this guy is always willing to do what it takes. His love won't let you down, he'll prove it all night, and now he'll work for your love. Presumably in a factory. Probably a rendering factory. With a nearby cold dark river. With taconite, coke and limestone on his hands.
Oh, and obsessives will note a few choice instances of lyric recycling, most notably the bit about "pulling the motorcycle out of the garage and polished up the chrome," a detail first utilized on the "Born in the USA" B-side "Shut Out the Light." And there's at least one "edge of town" in here.
The first listen = good. And just think: you've got a whole weekend to take it in.