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Springsteen forum - The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle - 1973

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badlandso
(181 posts so far)
04/07/2007 4:31pm (UTC)[quote]
Skrevet av Jack Feeney (9/10)

Like his debut Bruce's second offering (released in the same year one should impressively note) was still distinct from the sort of musical and lyrical aesthestics that would make his name. Lyrically, the content is much the same, with New Jersey and its loveable inhabitants being wistfully romanticised and nostalgically glorified, but his ability has undoubtedly moved up a notch with the second half in particular containing an immaculate set of verse. Musically as well, things have very definitely started to move into gear. As the title suggests the "legendary" E-Street band have been recruited by Bruce (mainly from gay bars if the photo on the back is anything to go by) and therefore his musical palette has increased and widened. Bob Dylan is still watching over proceedings ("Mary Queen of Arkansas" is unfortunately re-attempted in the form of the rambling acoustic "Wild Billy's Circus Story" but Van Morrison has obviously been playing quite a bit on Bruce's New Jersey juke-boxes with more of the songs expanded into jazz-flavoured free-form musical journeys. Indeed, this album is almost certainly the most musically adventurous Bruce ever put his name to and, as a result, combined with the fact his lyrics are still exuberant and optimistic often sees this album appealing to people who don't generally like his more famous bombastic arena rock. Certainly anyone who was dissing Bruce in my company, as well as getting a punch on the nose, would be instantly directed to this album for evidence of when he was simply a great singer-songwriter with no strings attached. The E-Street band even experiment with funk on the opening title track as Bruce tries to generate an "E-Street" groove, used to back his joyful account of his like-minded Jersey peers out to have a good time. As well as the lush ballad "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" (one of his very best) Van's influence can be seen with the closing ten minute "New York City Serenade" which presents a gorgeous panoramic sweep of New York complete with an angelic piano chord progression and a string arrangement that Bruce practically coaxes out with his dynamic vocals, ranging from an awed hush to a heart-breaking cry as he narrates the trials and tribulations of the kids out and about in the Big Apple. When one remembers Astral Weeks is primarily concerned with nostalgic reflections of growing up in Belfast, backed by rambling but lush jazz-influenced and orchestral-aided arrangements it is not hard to pin-point the obvious debts to Van Morrison. On the other hand, "Kitty's Back", although drawing on the big-band jazz of some of Van's work ("Jackie Wilson Said" is more rock'n'roll than acoustic with the E-Street band throwing in plenty of jazzy guitar licks. As it happens, the first side of the album is merely good rather than fantastic and is what prevents this release from achieving the 10* that I was so sorely tempted to give it. That said, second track "4th of July, Asbury Park" is one of my all-time favourite songs (by Bruce or otherwise). Its sensitivity, musically and lyrically, is astonishing and is pretty much something that Springsteen never matched again. The arrangement is, of course, beautifully affecting with the E-Street band complementing Bruce's acoustic guitar in a way that was notably missing on the similar numbers from the debut. The lyrics are even better as one finds oneself helplessly sucked into his account of life in one of New Jersey's beach-towns with the hero all-too-familiarly struggling to make sense of adolescent life. The climatic middle-eight is one of the most wistful and beautiful moments ever captured on record with the arrangement breaking down to allow Bruce to yearn for his lost-love ("the kids say last night she was dressed like a star in one of them cheap little seaside bars, and I saw her parked with loverboy out on the Kokomo". Amazingly "4th of July" is not even the best song on the album. That honour falls to what is almost certainly one of the greatest songs ever - "Incident on 57th Street". The story is immaculate as failed crook Spanish Johnny cruises into town only to get laughed back out by the serious criminals. He finds himself comforted by Puerto-Rican Jane who falls in love with him on the spot and attempts to redeem him and get him to renounce his deviant aims. However, in the last verse, Johnny hears of a chance to make his name and leaves Jane to condemn himself to a fruitless, premature death all in the name of misguided glory. Such an epic narrative is of course captured with an equally epic arrangement and it easily stands out as one of Bruce's all-time great songs. The organ hook on the chorus is so transcendent it almost doesn't sound like a musical instrument at all but some kind of divine power transmitted straight into your mind. Words really cannot do such a song justice but, believe me, it is something you've GOT to hear. The second half is fleshed out with another sweeping epic, sandwiched between "Incident on 57th Street" and "New York City Serenade", in the form of the light-hearted and furiously energetic rocker "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)". Lyrically, again, it sees Bruce in a far jollier state of mind than the rest of his seventies classics and it brilliantly culminates with a real rush of a middle-eight, featuring his car (naturally) getting stuck in the swamps of Jersey. One might find it possibly smug (given he is obviously aware of the rock'n'roll legacy he is about to secure) but the fact that he sings the whole number with a smile on his face is enough to keep me smiling along at home. From now on, though, his classic rockers are mostly going to be concerned with far more serious subject matter as Bruce outgrows his youthful naivety and starts to see his state's inhabitants for what they really are. Still, though, it is an album like this that reminds us how youthful he once was and is an even better bet than the debut given the jump in songwriting quality.
voodoo71
(2 posts so far)
04/08/2007 8:44am (UTC)[quote]
The Wild.....ja den er litt "vill" mye jamming og litt jazzpreg i noen låter.

Men her er jo rockere som Rosalita og Kitty's Back og den flotte storyen om Wild Billy's Circus. Må heller ikke glemme den majestetiske Incident... og storyen om Sandy.

For meg blir denne platen litt ujevn.
Havner derfor på 4/6
Username
(96 posts so far)
12/13/2011 7:39pm (UTC)[quote]
"badlandso" wrote:
Skrevet av Jack Feeney (9/10)

Like his debut Bruce's second offering (released in the same year one should impressively note) was still distinct from the sort of musical and lyrical aesthestics that would make his name. Lyrically, the content is much the same, with New Jersey and its loveable inhabitants being wistfully romanticised and nostalgically glorified, but his ability has undoubtedly moved up a notch with the second half in particular containing an immaculate set of verse. Musically as well, things have very definitely started to move into gear. As the title suggests the "legendary" E-Street band have been recruited by Bruce (mainly from gay bars if the photo on the back is anything to go by) and therefore his musical palette has increased and widened. Bob Dylan is still watching over proceedings ("Mary Queen of Arkansas" is unfortunately re-attempted in the form of the rambling acoustic "Wild Billy's Circus Story" but Van Morrison has obviously been playing quite a bit on Bruce's New Jersey juke-boxes with more of the songs expanded into jazz-flavoured free-form musical journeys. Indeed, this album is almost certainly the most musically adventurous Bruce ever put his name to and, as a result, combined with the fact his lyrics are still exuberant and optimistic often sees this album appealing to people who don't generally like his more famous bombastic arena rock. Certainly anyone who was dissing Bruce in my company, as well as getting a punch on the nose, would be instantly directed to this album for evidence of when he was simply a great singer-songwriter with no strings attached. The E-Street band even experiment with funk on the opening title track as Bruce tries to generate an "E-Street" groove, used to back his joyful account of his like-minded Jersey peers out to have a good time. As well as the lush ballad "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" (one of his very best) Van's influence can be seen with the closing ten minute "New York City Serenade" which presents a gorgeous panoramic sweep of New York complete with an angelic piano chord progression and a string arrangement that Bruce practically coaxes out with his dynamic vocals, ranging from an awed hush to a heart-breaking cry as he narrates the trials and tribulations of the kids out and about in the Big Apple. When one remembers Astral Weeks is primarily concerned with nostalgic reflections of growing up in Belfast, backed by rambling but lush jazz-influenced and orchestral-aided arrangements it is not hard to pin-point the obvious debts to Van Morrison. On the other hand, "Kitty's Back", although drawing on the big-band jazz of some of Van's work ("Jackie Wilson Said" is more rock'n'roll than acoustic with the E-Street band throwing in plenty of jazzy guitar licks. As it happens, the first side of the album is merely good rather than fantastic and is what prevents this release from achieving the 10* that I was so sorely tempted to give it. That said, second track "4th of July, Asbury Park" is one of my all-time favourite songs (by Bruce or otherwise). Its sensitivity, musically and lyrically, is astonishing and is pretty much something that Springsteen never matched again. The arrangement is, of course, beautifully affecting with the E-Street band complementing Bruce's acoustic guitar in a way that was notably missing on the similar numbers from the debut. The lyrics are even better as one finds oneself helplessly sucked into his account of life in one of New Jersey's beach-towns with the hero all-too-familiarly struggling to make sense of adolescent life. The climatic middle-eight is one of the most wistful and beautiful moments ever captured on record with the arrangement breaking down to allow Bruce to yearn for his lost-love ("the kids say last night she was dressed like a star in one of them cheap little seaside bars, and I saw her parked with loverboy out on the Kokomo". Amazingly "4th of July" is not even the best song on the album. That honour falls to what is almost certainly one of the greatest songs ever - "Incident on 57th Street". The story is immaculate as failed crook Spanish Johnny cruises into town only to get laughed back out by the serious criminals. He finds himself comforted by Puerto-Rican Jane who falls in love with him on the spot and attempts to redeem him and get him to renounce his deviant aims. However, in the last verse, Johnny hears of a chance to make his name and leaves Jane to condemn himself to a fruitless, premature death all in the name of misguided glory. Such an epic narrative is of course captured with an equally epic arrangement and it easily stands out as one of Bruce's all-time great songs. The organ hook on the chorus is so transcendent it almost doesn't sound like a musical instrument at all but some kind of divine power transmitted straight into your mind. Words really cannot do such a song justice but, believe me, it is something you've GOT to hear. The second half is fleshed out with another sweeping epic, sandwiched between "Incident on 57th Street" and "New York City Serenade", in the form of the light-hearted and furiously energetic rocker "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)". Lyrically, again, it sees Bruce in a far jollier state of mind than the rest of his seventies classics and it brilliantly culminates with a real rush of a middle-eight, featuring his car (naturally) getting stuck in the swamps of Jersey. One might find it possibly smug (given he is obviously aware of the rock'n'roll legacy he is about to secure) but the fact that he sings the whole number with a smile on his face is enough to keep me smiling along at home. From now on, though, his classic rockers are mostly going to be concerned with far more serious subject matter as Bruce outgrows his youthful naivety and starts to see his state's inhabitants for what they really are. Still, though, it is an album like this that reminds us how youthful he once was and is an even better bet than the debut given the jump in songwriting quality.



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