Bruce Sprinsteen, Working On A Dream

The Boss has been a busy man as of late. Written directly after the 2008 Magic sessions, Working on a Dream is an epic collection that brings together themes of unrequited love, personal tragedy and salvation, and a refreshing, optimistic reflection on getting older. Like Magic, Dream relies heavily on overdubs and the E-Street Band bring their A-game, playing to whatever Springsteen and producer Brendan O’Brien can throw at them. Easily the best track is the seven-minute saga “Outlaw Pete”. Musically, “Pete” contains everything from dramatic strings, bright bells, searing organ pulls and a final gutsy guitar squeal that could be Outlaw Pete’s final roar as he rides through the prairies. After 16 albums, Springsteen has his formula down. There are pretty, rock-pop songs (“Kingdom of Days” and “Surprise, Surprise”), a blues number (“Good Eye”) and refrained folk thinkers (“The Wrestler” and “This Life”). As with most Springsteen records, it ends leaving you wanting more and the final track, “The Last Carnival,” doesn’t disappoint. “Carnival” is a touching eulogy for E-Street member Dan Federici; beginning with a circus loop and a set of dry acoustic guitars, it segues brilliantly into a heavenly choir crying out for their fallen brother. (Columbia)

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