In my last post, we covered Human Touch, the other of two albums released on the same day in 1992 (!). This is it’s fraternal twin!
First up is Better Days (hey Deke!), a great organ rock shouter. Lucky Town is one we all know, and the great useof the tambourine saves it. Local Hero is another great Bruce track that, frankly, could be a Mellencamp song too.
If I Should Fall Behind is a lovely, slower and quieter track like only Bruce can do it. Leap Of Faith is uplifting, right down to the backing vocals. This was built to be a gospel song, I’d say. The Big Muddy is an easy, bluesy southern-feel groove. Living Proof joins the long list of solid mid-tempo Bruce songs.
Book Of Dreams is a slow, beautiful tune, and then we end the album on two highlight tracks! Souls Of The Departed has a cool groove with the blues sewn in, and My Beautiful Reward is a gorgeous late-night highway tune, accented with acoustic guitar.
Oddly, it lists Bruce as playing “All Instruments,” but then goes on to list another dude playing drums, and on several tracks there are other people’s contributions listed as well. Surely he’s not confused as to what “All Instruments” means?
In Sum: Wiki says that, of the two albums released together, Human Touch was the more popular. It’s hard to disagree, that’s a great record. But I still think I prefer this one, it has a great feel all its own. So I suggest a compromise: play the records back to back and make it a couple hours of Bruce Greatness in your life!
Recently, I heard The Boss’ MTV Plugged album and loved it, as always. 1992 was a busy year for Bruce, with two studio albums released on the same day! My next post will cover the other in this pair.
Human Touch is pure Boss greatness. A surefire hit song. Souldriver* has a great old-time folk feel to its bounce rock. Yes, you read that correctly. 57 Channels (And Nothing On) dates itself, of course, and it’s a bit of a one-note bobber. But its Dire Straits feel and Bruce on bass makes it a cool track anyway. It helps that I agree with him – I haven’t had cable TV in my house since about 1997, there’s just nothing on.
Cross My Heart is slower, a simple tune, but it’s still a great Bruce song. Gloria’s Eyes is a driving rocker that didn’t quite grab me the same, but it’s okay. His voice really carries it. With Every Wish is gorgeous Springsteen folk, and I love the trumpet! I always love the trumpets!
Roll Of The Dice is an old school Bruce rocker, takes me back to the 70s. Real World* is a mid-tempo rock song, a feel-good keeper. All Or Nothin’ At All is a bluesy barroom banger, really kickin’ it, Yeah! Then we’re into Man’s Job* which is pop rock, that old school feel again, and it’s pretty damn okay.
I Wish I Were Blind is an album highlight. Has a My Hometown feel to it. The Long Goodbye is a big Bruce shout-out rocker, hell yeah! Real Man is an uplifting pop rocker that strains his voice a bit, needed a lower key. And Pony Boy ends things here with a pretty, acoustic/harmonica duet with Patti, in the old traditional style.
In Sum: This was fantastic! Thanks, Bruce!
* Additional vocals on these tracks listed as Sam Moore. Yes, that’s THE Sam Moore!
1992 finds the Boss in concert at MTV and it’s a corker.
From the hilarious opener of Red Headed Woman to the gorgeous My Beautiful Reward, with lots of great renditions (both acoustic and electric) and some great soul-shouter exhortations to get the home audience to take their clothes off during Light Of Day, this disc has it all.
Bruce’s voice is in fantastic shape, the band does it up just right, and when it all ended, I found myself wishing they would just keep on playing for hours and hours.
Here’s all you need to know, past that:
Red Headed Woman / Better Days / Atlantic City / Darkness On The Edge Of Town / Man’s Job / Human Touch / Lucky Town / I Wish I Were Blind / Thunder Road / Light Of Day / If I Should Fall Behind / Living Proof / My Beautiful Reward.
Here’s another batch…
James – Hey Ma
Everybody remembers Laid, but James has been around a long time and always makes really cool music when they’re at it. Hey Ma is full of captivating pop beauty, currently-relevant lyrics and uplifting musical generosity. This one should be huge. Get it.
Scott Weiland – Happy In Galoshes
Whatever troubles Weiland has had in his personal life, the fact remains that the man can write a catchy tune between benders, whether it’s for STP, VR or these sporadic solo efforts. This one has a lot of good single moments here and there, even an appropriate Bowie cover, but sadly this album is too scattered to be satisfying.
The Band – The Last Waltz
We watched this amazing film with friends on New Year’s Eve, which could easily become a tradition for me. So many phenomenal artists, so much beautiful music, one unbelievable concert. Truly a show you hope will never end. Forget our plastic culture’s mindless numbness to superlative – this one’s a true classic.
Bruce Springsteen – Working On A Dream
The Boss can still show off that carnival swirl of the old days, and lately he’s nurturing the good sense to slow things down more often. This record’s what you’d expect, actually. There are the inevitable dud tracks (Outlaw Pete, Queen Of The Supermarket), but the rest is solid Springsteen.
Serena Ryder – Is It OK
This artist only grows stronger with each new release, and she was bloody strong to begin with, as you know already. Her growing confidence lends pure power to her every move. Even better, there’s still that raw edge in her approach, which I’ve always found totally appealing. Each song here could be a single. I really, really liked this.