Springsteen has been a superstar for almost 30 years and still manages to write songs that speak to the common person. Songs about how you feel about your day-to-day life, your relationship with your dad, losing your dream, getting old. Songs of love, songs of hope, songs of desperation. Most of all, songs about just getting by.
His songs reach out to the secret yearnings in all of us.
Springsteen’s latest release, “Devils and Dust,” (Columbia Records), seems to follow in the vein of his 1982 “Nebraska” release and “The Ghost of Tom Joad” (1995). Singer/songwriter stuff.
Here, I should admit to being one of those die-hard Springsteen fans who was disappointed when Nebraska came out. I kept waiting for him to write something that grabbed me the way his albums of the late ’70s and early ’80s did – those testosterone-loaded throbbing rock anthems like “Born to Run”, “Adam Raised A Cain,” and “Prove It All Night.” No one did those like Bruce.
But he’s moved on. He told us that unequivocally with “Nebraska” and again with “The Ghost of Tom Joad.” It’s taken me decades to accept it. Now I listen to “Nebraska” and recognize its worth. It’s good solid American singer songwriting. I wasn’t ready for it at the time. I am now.
“Devils and Dust” is again good solid American singer/songwriter material. Each song is thoughtful and tells a complete story in a few words. The closest thing to a rocker on this disc is “All the Way Home.” It’s pretty good. And it’s written from the point of view of an older wiser man who’s learned the art of compromise.
In fact, most of the songs on this disc come from a mature point of view. Stories from a guy who has lived his life with his eyes open. If he hasn’t experienced all the feelings in these songs, he’s known people who have. And not only can he get into their skins, he can take you with him.
You won’t start dancing or play air guitar when you play this disc. It will make you think, though. There’s a place for it.
This is a disc that will grow on you. The more you play it, the more you’ll hear in it. Like “Nebraska.”
And you probably still have "Born to Run." You can always slip that thing in and crank it up real loud when you need to.