I’m laying up today enjoying a lazy Sunday at home. Waiting for that cool fall weather that takes forever to get to this part of the world.
I’m listening to the new Springsteen album, Magic.
Once again reunited with the E Street band. Their classic sound and signature is all over the music so it’s not a big departure musically but that’s not a bad thing when the songs, as they are on this album, are of such high quality.
So, what’s on Bruce’s mind lately?
Besides the usual tales of working class people and their daily struggles with love and life, the Iraq war and the devastation caused by it are the heart and soul of this album.
On “Gypsy Biker” a song about a war veteran’s homecoming he writes:
“The speculators made their money on the blood you shed”
“This whole town’s been rousted
Which side are you on
The favored march up over the hill
In some fools parade
Shoutin’ victory for the righteous
But there ain’t much here but graves”
On “Last To Die” about a soldier who returned home from the war in a coffin:
“Who’ll be the last to die for a mistake
The last to die for a mistake
Whose blood will spill, whose heart will break
Who’ll be the last to die, for a mistake”
“Kids asleep in the backseat
We’re just counting the miles, you and me
We don’t measure the blood
we’ve drawn anymore
We just stack the bodies outside the door”
The album closer is the haunting “Devil’s Arcade” on which the wife of a dead soldier laments:
“You said heroes are needed, so heroes get made
Somebody made a bet, somebody paid
The cool desert morning, then nothin’ to save
Just metal and plastic where your body caved”
“The glorious kingdom of the sun on your face
Rising from a long night as dark as the grave
On a thin chain of next moments
And something like faith
On a morning to order, a breakfast to make
A bed draped in sunshine, a body that waits
For the touch of your fingers
The end of a day
The beat of your heart, the beat of your heart
The beat of your heart, the slow burning away
Of the bitter fires of the devil’s arcade”
Magic is not a return to form or great comeback for Springsteen. No such titles apply or are even necessary.
The album is simply affirmation of Springsteen’s continuing relevance as an artist and voice for humanity. These latest songs are deep with meaning and hit hard along with the fantastic rock n’ roll that serves as its driving force.
It’s music for those with ears to listen and a heart to feel.