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Bruce Springsteen - Working On A Dream
Rather than analyze new releases song by song, we offer  'overviews' designed to give you a better idea of how likely you are to like the album as a whole. Click on the cover art  to hook up with more reviews.  And Listen for  yourself. 

Bruce Springsteen Working On A Dream

Springsteen's most powerful songs seemed to come from inside the heads and hearts of great real and imagined characters - Spanish Johnny, Madame Marie, Rosalita, Mary in Thunder Road, Wayne in Darlington County and so many others inspired a first hand narrative that put us in the songs with them.  Characters like these got scarce - maybe because celebrity forced Bruce to spend more time in a bubble to preserve what little privacy he could, or maybe just because he had moved on. With the notable exception of  The Rising, people we meet in his recent songs are more often written about from an outside observer's perspective.  The music also more seems more detached these days. Raw urgency and dynamic arrangements grew increasingly rare on studio recordings after Born In The USA and all but disappeared long before Magic and this release. While fewer of the songs on this collection swim in the lush arrangements of his 2007 release, most continue his current fascination with the multi-layered pop production he grew up listening to.  If you are okay with that context there is a lot to like on Working On A Dream.  If you're not, well, the real life Madame Marie passed away last year, so we can't ask the woman  the cops busted  "...for telling fortunes better than they do" how long Bruce will stay on this path.  And hey, an 'okay' release from Bruce is still better than most albums.