AbsolutePunk.net
   Username
Password
 
Album Review
Hint: Follow a reviewer to be notified when they post reviews.
Bruce Springsteen - Working On A Dream Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9.5
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 8
Production 8
Creativity 8
Lasting Value 8.5
Reviewer Tilt 8
Final Verdict: 84%
Member Ratings
Vocals 5.75
Musicianship 5.25
Lyrics 4.75
Production 7.75
Creativity 2.75
Lasting Value 3
Reviewer Tilt 3.25
Average: 46%
Inside AP.net

Bruce Springsteen - Working On A Dream

Reviewed by: Thomas Nassiff (07/13/11)
Bruce Springsteen - Working On A Dream
Release Date: January 27, 2009
Record Label: Columbia Records


When people hear Working On A Dream, they panic. Bruce Springsteen finished recording the album – his 16th and most recent studio output – and called it a “masterpiece,” saying it was his best work with the E Street Band. That probably got people a little antsy, and Dream certainly doesn’t live up to those expectations. It’s getting a little weird to hear new Bruce Springsteen songs about blue-collar American problems when he is about 60 years old and has definitely made enough money off of writing records to forget about the 9-to-5 life. But still, Springsteen stayed true to his roots lyrically on Working On A Dream and crafted an interesting record.

The lyricism is not where I find fault on this record; rather, I take issue with the flow of the album. Too many songs are too slow, and Springsteen finally recorded a song using whatever weird vocal effect is on “Good Eye” – probably one of my least favorite songs by The Boss, ever. “Queen Of The Supermarket” is a song people love to hate, and while it doesn’t quite deserve all the slack it gets, it does come across as an awkward listen. It’s part of a first half of Working On A Dream that also features a less-than-stellar title track, but those missteps (weird to use that word in a Springsteen review) are made up for my the brilliant double-shot opening of “Outlaw Pete” and “My Lucky Day.” The former can go pound-for-pound with any Springsteen track in terms of musicianship, while the latter is an uptempo race through a joyful chorus.

Alas, Springsteen can’t do too much wrong. “Tomorrow Never Knows” is a short but sweet track that really just shows how little effort Springsteen needs to write a masterful song. The entire record, for the most part, was written over the course of about two weeks and recorded largely on the road and right after touring. Springsteen said he hoped the record captured the energy of the band while they were on tour, but that energy is something I feel is lacking in the finished product. It’s all well produced enough, but the record is absent of the power of Magic. It’s a small step down – but it’s still a step down.

Surprising no one, the end of Working On A Dream is memorable. “Kingdom Of Days” is a solid track full of sweeping musicianship while “Surprise, Surprise” is another simply and catchy number. Closer “The Wrestler” is the standout on this record, however. Used in a movie of the same name, the song is an acoustic one that paints a painful story through its lyrics; one of a man who can only do one thing right. “Have you ever seen a one-trick pony in the field so happy and free? / If you've ever seen a one-trick pony then you've seen me / Have you ever seen a one-legged dog making its way down the street? / If you've ever seen a one-legged dog then you've seen me.”

All in all, Working On A Dream isn’t quite where I would like to hear new Springsteen music with the E Street Band, but it certainly is not a record that I’m about to kick out of bed. It’s still an extremely worthwhile listen, and if I have to choose between another record of this quality or no more new Springsteen albums, it’s easy to choose another Dream. It’s hard to say if we will ever get another Springsteen record with the E Street Band – two members of the group have passed on, but will be forever immortalized. The rest of the band is aging and getting to the point where they might decide to call it a career. Whether or not we ever get any new material from them, a few things are clear to me. I’ve said them more than once in this series of reviews. Bruce Springsteen is the best musician and lyricist to ever live. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are the best rock and roll group ever, and they are the best live performers to grace a stage. Am I biased? Yes. Do I have a personal attachment to this man and this band? Yes. But after thousands of words of me describing and opining on 16 studio albums, someone is still reading this sentence. So I might as well make my opinion obvious.

Recommended If You LikeAfter 40 years and 16 records, if you don't know what to expect, just go listen to some hipster stuff.
Bare Essentials1. Outlaw Pete
2. My Lucky Day
3. Working On A Dream
4. Queen Of The Supermarket
5. What Love Can Do
6. This Life
7. Good Eye
8. Tomorrow Never Knows
9. Life Itself
10. Kingdom Of Days
11. Surprise, Surprise
12. The Last Carnival
13. The Wrestler
Produced By: Brendan O'Brien, Run Time: 52 minutes
Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
 
Displaying posts 1 - 8 of 8
04:24 AM on 07/13/11
#2
kazuma_ootaro28
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
kazuma_ootaro28's Avatar
I thought "Working on a Dream" was a good song, and one of my favourites on the album. I do agree with "The Wrestler" being the best song here, as well as the faults that you mentioned. It's not a strong album, but it still has its moments.
07:11 AM on 07/13/11
#3
The Revisionist
Loves shittyass pop music
Offline
User Info.
The Revisionist's Avatar
The only song on this album I don't like on this album is "Queen of the Supermarket"... I'll be that guy, haha. My biggest problem with this album is that this feels more like a collection of really good b-sides than an actual album. It just jumps around so much that it's hard to stay focused as a listener.
08:33 AM on 07/13/11
#4
CellarGhosts
cellarghosts.tumblr.com
Offline
User Info.
CellarGhosts's Avatar
The only song on this album I don't like on this album is "Queen of the Supermarket"... I'll be that guy, haha. My biggest problem with this album is that this feels more like a collection of really good b-sides than an actual album. It just jumps around so much that it's hard to stay focused as a listener.
I think that's kind of what the album is, isn't it? I remember hearing somewhere when it came out that it was mostly songs that didn't make the cut for Magic or songs that weren't complete/fleshed-out at the time of that album's recording.

So yeah it kind of is a collection of b-sides/leftovers (albeit mostly really good ones) I guess.
08:38 AM on 07/13/11
#5
The Revisionist
Loves shittyass pop music
Offline
User Info.
The Revisionist's Avatar
I think that's kind of what the album is, isn't it? I remember hearing somewhere when it came out that it was mostly songs that didn't make the cut for Magic or songs that weren't complete/fleshed-out at the time of that album's recording.

So yeah it kind of is a collection of b-sides/leftovers (albeit mostly really good ones) I guess.
Yeah I had heard that too, and I had to look it up to confirm it. I guess "What Love Can Do" was written near the tail-end of Magic and they thought it was better suited for a new album... from there, Springsteen started writing new songs. So... it wasn't exactly a b-sides album, but it more or less started FROM a b-side, haha.
09:12 AM on 07/13/11
#6
Matthew Tsai
Born and raised
Offline
User Info.
Matthew Tsai's Avatar
The only song on this album I don't like on this album is "Queen of the Supermarket"... I'll be that guy, haha. My biggest problem with this album is that this feels more like a collection of really good b-sides than an actual album. It just jumps around so much that it's hard to stay focused as a listener.
Agreed with everything here.
12:31 PM on 07/13/11
#7
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
Offline
User Info.
Thomas Nassiff's Avatar
I think that's kind of what the album is, isn't it? I remember hearing somewhere when it came out that it was mostly songs that didn't make the cut for Magic or songs that weren't complete/fleshed-out at the time of that album's recording.

So yeah it kind of is a collection of b-sides/leftovers (albeit mostly really good ones) I guess.
I didn't really talk about it enough in the review, but this is true. Like I said, it was written in about two weeks....right after he finished Magic.
09:04 AM on 07/14/11
#8
Craig Manning
Down in Jungleland
Offline
User Info.
Craig Manning's Avatar
Springsteen's worst album, apart from Human Touch. It's still not bad, but it sadly falls into the mediocre category, and there are only really 3 or 4 memorable songs. The Danny tribute is great, and The Wrestler is perfect, though. I like Outlaw Pete and Kingdom of Days too, but the former always seemed a bit silly to me, and the latter a tad generic. The rest of the record does almost nothing for me.
Options
More From This Author
Buy the Music

NEWS, MUSIC & MORE
Search News
Release Dates
Exclusives
Best New Music
Articles
CONNECT
Submit News
Forums
Contests
Mobile Version
AP.net Logos
HIDDEN TREASURES
AbsolutePunk Podcast
Free Music
Sports Forum
Technology Forum
Recommendations
INFORMATION
Advertising
Contact Us
Copyright Policy
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
FOLLOW
Twitter | Facebook | RSS
PropertyOfZack
PunkNews.org
UnderTheGun
Chorus.fm