Posted: 01/29/2009


Springsteen’s Working On A Dream - Aren’t we all?

by Annie Vinton

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My Take: Good Springsteen
Songs You’ll Listen to Over and Over Again: My Lucky Day and if you’re feeling a bit somber, The Wrestler

Upon receiving Springsteen’s Working On A Dream , I did what made the most sense to me: I hopped in the car, hit the Jersey Turnpike and cranked up the volume. No, it wasn’t exactly the same as a cruising in a convertible on a summer day belting out his tunes, but in freezing temperatures, one must improvise.

I listened to the CD from beginning to end and I kept waiting for that quintessential Springsteen storytelling song that would make me believe in the plight of the blue collar man; have me feeling like a voyeur in someone’s life; or unleash a bevy of butterflies in my stomach knowing he is singing about me and that yes, my name should be Candy, Mary or Bobby Jean. He doesn’t totally veer away from story telling on this album and there are hints of his genuine connection to the common man in most of the songs. In “Queen of the Supermarket” he croons, “ I’m in love with the queen of the supermarket though a company cap covers her hair…” This song could actually have listeners yearning for a minimum wage job and a simple life where love is the main focus of life. I also questioned whether or not he might sing this during his Super Bowl appearance as an ode to the urban legend that tells the tale of how Kurt Warner, quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals, fell in love with his wife when he was the stock boy and she the check out girl at the supermarket.

Working On A Dream seems to be more reminiscent of Tunnel of Love and less like the epic sounds of Born to Run, but nonetheless, Springsteen fans won’t be disappointed. He steers away from politics and even though there’s not the storytelling style that’s so craved, he keeps the tone of all of the songs personal and makes a connection.

“Surpise, Surprise”, “My Lucky Day” and “The Last Carnival” have unforgettable refrains,and the CD has quite a few songs that are gauranteed to receive ample radio play.

The cliché of “saving the best for last” describes the “The Wrestler”. This bonus track is a bit on the melancholic side and tugs on the heartstrings. As the story goes, the song was inspired by Mickey Rourke, who was about to embark on the comeback role of a lifetime. He contacted Bruce and asked him if he could write music for an independent film for which he was to star. Bruce responded and this title track for the movie nailed the emotions of the lead character and deservedly was awarded a Golden Globe.

This CD’s release comes during economic times when we all need to hear from Bruce more than ever and Working On A Dream will keep fans at bay for now, but will make them wanting more, sooner rather than later. But, isn’t that what Bruce always does?

Annie Vinton is a freelance writer and film critic living in NYC. You can read more about her and her writing here.

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