Album: Bruce Springsteen, Wrecking Ball (Columbia)


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The Independent Culture

You can see what he's driving at: a muscular response to the rapine of the have-nots by the haves of this world. The gun in the drawer, the hanging on to love, the big beat... These are the colours of Springsteen's heart: the blue collar, the red mist, the need for green.

And on we could go with imagery as clunky as some of the artist's own. For the truth of it is that, worthy as the moral effort is, Wrecking Ball is as surgical as a ball of pig-iron on a swinging chain. This is not the Bruce who gets into your blood with the detail of his observation; it's a Bruce who wants to boot the bad guys in the ass and get arrested. He should be arrested for the lumpenness of his gospel, Celtic folk and brass-band references, that's for sure - mere solidarity by numbers. Easily the best thing on it is the generic slow-rocker "You've Got It", which not only rocks slowly but inscribes a moment's feeling rather than an oratorial position.