My friend always said that to fully understand rock ’n roll you needed to be in a car with the roof down, speeding down the California Freeway, Route 101, with the volume turned up. This is an album for such an occasion. Bruce is going summer music from the old soul classics. It reminds me of the joy of Bowie and Jagger’s Live Aid single Dancing In The Streets.
As it seems far more for sunny smiley days I am surprised that it has come out in dark November, though of course I am sure the sun is still shining on Santa Monica Boulevard!
There’s a bit of weather on Only The Strong Survive. There’s The Sun Doesn’t Shine Anymore and I Wish It Would Rain making me wonder if the Boss wants to move to Ireland. Personally I’m not sure it was his best decision to attempt out sing Scott Walker and the boys. I Wish It Would Rain works better.
Most songs do. The quality of Bruce’s Covid pastime is not in question. The production is as good as a soul album, looking back but right here in the present, could be. Springsteen long time producer Ron Aniello seems to have done the hard graft on these tracks with Bruce arriving to add not much more than his vocal.
Those vocals though. My word. It is as though Bruce realised how good his chops were at 73 and wanted to show them off. An album of soul songs will do it. It does.
Much as I am enjoying these songs I am unconvinced how deep the traction is going. I am sensing that Bruce’s 21st album is a belter but it’ll not last too long on my Springsteen playlist. A wonderful collection of songs that remind us of the joys of our Jersey Devil covering songs right through his career but no substitute for a follow up to Letter To You.