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'Magic' On The Edge Of Town

Springsteen_bruce_06lJ.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.

September 7, 2007 in Bruce Springsteen | Permalink


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Good? It is brilliant. Cannot wait for the concerts

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