The Wall Street Journal: The Working Man's Voice

February 28th, 2012

The Wall Street Journal
February 28, 2012

On his new album, “Wrecking Ball” (Columbia), out next week, Bruce Springsteen serves up the familiar with renewed vigor and vitality. The muscled-up music bridges Mr. Springsteen past and present with a jarring, authoritative blast under and around his voice. While the early industry buzz has homed in on his lyrics, Mr. Springsteen’s rage and tempered optimism are expressed at least as well by the sound and arrangements he has whipped up with producer Ron Aniello.

Mr. Springsteen says the E Street Band, which has supported him since 1972, will form the core group backing him on his world tour beginning March 18 in Atlanta. “Wrecking Ball,” however, doesn’t feature the E Street Band, which suffered the deaths of original members Clarence Clemons last year and Danny Federici in 2008. Singer-guitarist Patti Scialfa and drummer Max Weinberg are the only surviving E Street Band members on this disc; Mr. Weinberg appears on two cuts, including the title track, which the E Street Band performed with Mr. Springsteen beginning in 2008. Clemons’s most notable contribution is a characteristically brawny solo on “Land of Hope and Dreams.”