Guest / Limited Access /
Wrecking Ball
Our Rating
4 Stars - Excellent
Average Rating
(7 user ratings) ADD YOURS Help
Release Date
March 6, 2012
Sony Legacy

Style: Rock and folk; compare to Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan

Top tracks: "Wrecking Ball," "Jack of All Trades," "Land of Hope and Dreams"

After 2009's perfunctory, by-the-numbers Working on a Dream, Bruce Springsteen seemed in danger of becoming a caricature of himself; the Boss punching the clock and delivering uninspired couplets from the comfort of a lush corner office instead of trafficking in the blood and sweat of the factory floor.

But Brooooce is back, and Wrecking Ball (Columbia) 4 stars, his finest album in a decade, gives the lie to the notion of rock legends coasting on past glories. Wrecking Ball is a synthesis of Springsteen sounds old and new, with muscular rockers shouldering up next to atmospheric ballads and raucous folk hootenannies. It's haunted by the ghost of a lost band member and fueled by the compassion for working-class Americans that has always been the impetus behind Springsteen's greatest songs. And, in the best tradition of protest music, it's mad as hell.

In a world of fat-cat bankers and robber barons in corporate boardrooms, in a time when far too many people struggle merely to survive, Springsteen surveys the carnage. The Celtic-influenced "Shackled and Drawn" and the bleak, beautiful ballad "Jack of All Trades" explore the deep resignation and world-weariness of people who are too worn down to fight anymore. But there is anger and seething resentment here as well, particularly on the defiant title track and on first single "We Take Care of Our Own," an updated but no less ironic "Born in the U.S.A." in which Springsteen probes vast societal indifference to the plight of the poor.

Against all odds, there is also faith, hope, and love, particularly on the glorious, anthemic "Land of Hope and Dreams," ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Browse All Music Reviews By:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueGive Us This Day Our Daily Chores
Subscriber Access Only
Give Us This Day Our Daily Chores
Why even our smallest routines are the stuff of worship.
Also in this IssueProof of a Good God: 'Crucified Under Pontius Pilate'
Subscriber Access Only Proof of a Good God: 'Crucified Under Pontius Pilate'
Why this 'factoid' from the Nicene Creed is key to ending our nightmares about God.
Current IssueGleanings: December 2016
Subscriber Access Only Gleanings: December 2016
Important developments in the church and the world (as they appeared in our December issue).
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickA Journey as Old as Humanity Itself
A Journey as Old as Humanity Itself
What’s behind our timeless fascination with religious pilgrimage?
Christianity Today
Wrecking Ball
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

March 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.